Yellowstone County residents should be wary of possible fraudsters calling under the guise of being public health officials, according to an announcement from RiverStone Health.
The announcement made in a press release issued Friday is one of several cautions made by local and state officials about the rise in scam artists looking to take advantage of the epidemic.
“Phone calls from RiverStone Health contact tracers are not recorded or automated messages,” the announcement read. “If RiverStone Health contact tracers are unable to reach someone, they will leave a message identifying themselves and providing their direct phone number at RiverStone Health in Billings. RiverStone Health contact tracers don’t tell people to call the state or the local information line.”
The public health service for the county reported that several people had received messages from people claiming to be with “Yellowstone Public Health.” The messages said recipients should call the local public health office, or gave a Montana phone number to a line that is not accepting incoming calls.
In the announcement, RiverStone Health CEO John Felton said the messages were “confusing and were not from RiverStone Health.”
According to the Federal Communications Commission, the outbreak of COVID-19 has also brought with it a spike in cases of fraud and identity theft. Automated calls and call-back scams promising free COVID-19 test kids, phony cures and financial relief have duped thousands into providing their personal information.