November 30, 2023

The Department of the Interior and Local Government is warning the public against conmen taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis and introducing themselves as members of contact tracing teams to scam victims into handing out payment for Covid-19 test kits.
Usec. Jonathan Malaya said there are unscrupulous individuals posing as contact tracers who are sending text messages or making calls telling people that they have been identified as close contact of an alleged Covid-19 patient and that they need to shell out money for the cost of a testing kit.
He said legitimate contact tracing teams will never ask for money since their task is to track down and manage close contacts, reduce the spread of infection, and offer diagnostic, counseling, and treatment to confirmed Covid-19 cases.
“We ask the public to be vigilant. Huwag po tayong basta-basta magtitiwala sa mga taong tatawag o magte-text para humingi ng pera. Pag may pera na po sa usapan, scam na po iyan. We are in a public health emergency and unfortunately ay mayroon pa ring mga mapagsamantala kaya doble ingat po tayo,” he said.
Malaya said reports from DILG Region 3 indicate that certain individuals pretending to be members of a contact tracing team were calling households telling them that they were identified as close contact of a person who has tested positive with Covid-19. 
“Hindi nila ibibigay ang impormasyon about the alleged person na nag-positive (for Covid-19). Sasabihin nila na they will violate privacy laws kuno, (if they divulge the information about the Covid-19 patient),” he added.
Malaya said that despite the limited information given, the scammer will insist on having the victim tested within the next 72 hours. 
“Pagtawag nila sa isang bahay, they will advise the person to self-isolate at magpa-test within 72 hours”  he said.
The caller will then ask for the address of the victim where the supposed testing kits will be sent. 
He said after getting the victim’s address, the scammers will ask for their credit card number or other financial details saying that the test kits cost $50 each. 
“Yun na’ yung catch, matapos makuha ‘yung address ng biktima, bigla nila ngayon itong sisingilin at sasabihing hindi libre ang test kit,” he said.
“Kapag tumanggi naman ‘yung tao, pagbabantaan sila na they will face penalties for not undergoing the coronavirus test.” 
He urged the public to report to the nearest police station or or call the DILG through Hotline 911 and the DILG-Public Assistance and Complaint Center at 8925-0343. – DILG release