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COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates and Guidance

The County is taking a number of actions to keep residents safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Find status information for County operations and services.

Public Safety News

 

Baltimore County Police and Fire News

Official News Blog of Baltimore County police, fire, homeland security and emergency management. Call 911 to report crimes in progress and emergencies.
Keyword: coronavirus

As more of the population ventures out, it increases our chances of being exposed to COVID-19. This could lead to a call from a contact tracer who is hired by the Maryland Department of Health to track where you have been and who you’ve been in contact with in the last two weeks. Their job is to contact you if there’s a possibility that you’ve been exposed to the virus to help prevent it from spreading to others.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Maryland Department of Health have warned us of scammers pretending to be contact tracers. Maryland is using covidLINK, a contact tracing initiative to help keep us safe. A contact tracer will contact you by phone, and occasionally in person if needed. A legitimate contact tracer will ask you about your health, if you have any symptoms of the virus, and, if so, how long you’ve had those symptoms. You may be asked of places that you recently visited, names of individuals that you’ve been in close contact with, and if you have contact information for those people. Provide as much information as possible so that the contact tracer can get in touch with others who may have potentially been infected. If you tested positive for Coronavirus, the contact tracer may also request the date of your test and the name of your insurance company for additional verification.

Scammers want to steal your identity and money. You should never be asked for passwords, photographs or videos, or personal details unrelated to COVID-19. Here are steps to prevent being scammed.

  • Never pay a contact tracer. Their service to you is free and you should never be asked for money or payment.
  • Never give anyone your personal information. You will not be asked for your Social Security number, bank, credit card or financial information.
  • Never share your immigration status. A contact tracer doesn’t even need that information.

Maryland has provided a way for you to verify that you’re being contacted by a legitimate contact tracer. If you receive a call from them, the caller ID will read “MD COVID.” If you do not have caller ID, the incoming phone number should be (240) 466-4488.

To report a scam or other consumer problem related to the Coronavirus, file a complaint with the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. Information you provide will be shared with local, state and federal law enforcement partners.

The information you provide to a contact tracer is crucial in reducing the spread of the virus and keeping others healthy. Your response will help inform and protect others.

Criminals don't usually take the day off, even during a pandemic. Remember to remain vigilant and keep informed of the latest scams related to the Coronavirus Disease.

Be aware of the latest COVID-19 scams that are out there. Here are a few.

  • A police imposter who stops you while driving, asks where you are going and why you are out. An officer must have a reason to pull a driver over other than for simply driving on the road. If you are unsure if the officer is legitimate, ask for credentials (a badge, identification number). If you are scared, drive to a local precinct or call 911.
  • Make sure that you're not going to a phony station for COVID-19 testing. The Maryland Department of Health has a listing of appointment-only testing sites.
  • Beware of people coming to your door offering to disinfect your home. This is a scam.
  • Online offers for face masks at soaring prices with the promise of quick delivery. Keep in mind that face masks are at a premium right now, along with sanitizers and other items to disinfect your home. Most requests for these items are taking much longer to be delivered to your doorstep.
  • Price gouging is illegal and should be reported to the Maryland Office of Attorney General online or their Consumer Hotline at 410-528-8662.
  • Cures! As of this writing, there is no cure or vaccine for COVID-19. The best preventive measures are washing your hands thoroughly, covering your cough, avoiding close contact with people (keep a six foot social distance) and wearing a face mask to protect others.

The Baltimore County Department of Health has a hotline number that is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 410-887-3816 with your questions about the Coronavirus.

Additional resources and up-to-date information are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

If you have been scammed, call 911.

The Baltimore County Police Department knows that scammers are out there looking for new ways to take your money. The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is another opportunity for them to steal from the public.

Follow these simple tips to avoid being a victim of a scam.

  • As the government works on an economic relief package to send money, scammers are sending texts and emails telling the public how to receive this money. Don't listen to them. As of today, checks haven't being sent out. Don't be scammed by speaking with people who tell you they can get money to you sooner. Until the details are finalized, money won't be distributed. 
  • Don't click on unfamiliar links. If you do, a virus or malware could be downloaded on your computer.
  • You might receive false emails from scammers claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The message might say they have new and updated information about the virus. Don't trust these messages. If you want to get the most accurate information, go online and visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization (WHO),or Baltimore County Government for resources available to residents.
  • Beware of online offers of medicines to ease symptoms or cure the virus. There are no vaccines, pills, potions or other “miracle” drugs at this time. The CDC and other organizations are working together on this and, rest assured, we will hear when something is available.
  • Stay away from charities that contact you either by phone or online for a donation, even those that say they represent a well-known organization. No legitimate, charitable organization will ask for donations in the form of cash, gift cards or by wire. Do your research before making a donation.  If you want to donate money for a good cause, visit Charity Navigator or the BBB Wise Giving Alliance to learn more about the charity before doing so.
  • Your phones, either cellphone or landlines, are places for scammers to trick you into giving personal information. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers use illegal robocalls to illicit information from victims. The FTC advises that some callers, often a recording, ask the victim to press a telephone button that will allow them to talk to a live operator. Doing this could land you on a call list for future robocalls.

If you think you may have been scammed, contact the Baltimore County Police Department's Financial and Cyber Crimes Unit at 410-887-2190.

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017