Coronavirus Tracers Beg Residents: Please Answer Your Phones

Spam calls and scammers are more than annoying; they’re hindering efforts to track the coronavirus.

By Bryan Pietsch

A wariness of spam calls and phishing scams has stymied coronavirus contact-tracing efforts around the country to the extent that elected leaders are pleading with their constituents to pick up their phones.

The mayor of the District of Columbia even channeled Lionel Richie in an attempt to get people to listen.

“Hello? Yes, it’s you we’re looking for,” Mayor Muriel Bowser told Washingtonians. “Contact tracing is a critical tool in getting our city back on its feet. Answer the call.”

Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio urged residents of his state to “answer the call!”

Hello? Yes, it's you we're looking for. Contact tracing is a critical tool in getting our city back on its feet. Answer the call. pic.twitter.com/LvZIwK8Dtk

Both of their pleas, sent in tweets, told residents that callers tracing contacts to combat the coronavirus pandemic would not ask them about sensitive information like Social Security numbers or bank accounts, equipping people to discern public health workers from scammers.

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