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How do I know when a contact tracer is calling? How do I know it's not a scam? What will they ask me?

Last Updated: 07/07/2022

Contact tracers are calling with life-saving information that will keep you, your loved ones, and your community safe and healthy.

When a New Jersey contact tracer calls, it's because you tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has – so it's critical that you answer the phone.

Your help is the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and protecting your loved ones.

How Contact Tracers Will Reach Out

Contact tracers will reach out via phone, text message, or letters mailed to your home. Contact tracers will provide their name, agency, and a phone number.

  • NOTE: Contact tracers may call using a local health department number, or an alternate New Jersey number which may not be recognizable if you were to reverse search for it.

If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of your conversation with a contact tracer, you may hang up and call your local health department. You should also feel free to request the name and ID of anyone who calls.

You can find your local health department's contact information through the Department of Health's directory.

What A Contact Tracer Will NOT Ask

  • A contact tracer will never ask for your social security number
  • A contact tracer will never ask for confidential financial information like your bank or credit card number.
  • A contact tracer will never ask about your immigration status and ICE will not be notified about your location.
  • The information you share will not be used for the purposes of law enforcement or immigration enforcement in any way.
  • The information you share will not negatively affect your public charge assessment or be used to deny access to health care or any other essential service.
  • Your cell phone is never tracked, a GPS location is not followed, and geolocation data is not collected or used.

If someone is requesting personal information covered above, it is likely a scam. You can report these calls online to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs or by calling 973-504-6240.

To learn more about scams and distinguish between facts and rumors/disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic visit the New Jersey Office Homeland Security and Preparedness' Rumor Control and Disinformation page.

What A Contact Tracer WILL Ask

To ensure you have the care you need and the support to keep you and your family safe, you may be asked:

  • To confirm your date of birth, address, or other basic information.
  • Discuss any symptoms you may have had, whether you were hospitalized, or any underlying health conditions that might put you at greater risk.
  • Details about your living situation so you can be informed on how to safely self-isolate or self-quarantine.
  • If you are uninsured, so we can give you additional information about free testing and care.
  • You may also be asked about your job to determine if you are a health care worker or essential worker and therefore must comply with additional safety requirements.

If you tested positive for COVID-19:

  • A contact tracer may work with you to identify your close contacts - anyone you spent 15 minutes or more with over a 24-hour period and were within 6 feet of while you were infectious (2 days before onset of symptoms to 10 days after).
  • If you don't have symptoms, we'll ask about your activity during the two days before your diagnosis.
  • We will also ask for the phone numbers of anyone you tell us about, so they can be called and cared for.

Your information is confidential. Your name will not be released to your contacts or your COVID-19 status – that information will only be known to public health officials and our local health departments.

We will encourage you to let your contacts know about your illness, and we may call your contacts to let them know they have been exposed and what steps they should take to protect themselves and their loved ones. But again, we will not tell them your name. If you are staying at home during the isolation period, the contact tracer will discuss any needs you may have and connect you with additional support should you need it.