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The Arkansas Attorney General's office reports that scam calls coming in are seeking to take advantage of high unemployment and covid-19 contact tracing.

According to a news release issued by the office on July 8, scammers are using ongoing Arkansas Department of Health contact tracing -- a method of tracking an infectious disease outbreak -- as cover to collect people's personal information.

A common tactic, according to the release, is to send someone a text message containing a link that indicates a positive test result but instead provides the scammer with personal data from the individual's phone.

The release indicates that people who have tested positive should expect to be contacted by ADH staff to identify individuals they have been in close contact with.

This process will not cost money and the Attorney General's office encouraged people to avoid giving out personal bank account information or buying gift cards to pay scam artists.

Links in emails or text messages should be avoided if the recipient has not signed up to receive the messages and unsolicited emails or texts should be verified by contacting the ADH at [email protected] or by phone at 800-803-7847.

A second recent scam, which the office has reportedly received nearly 200 complaints of so far, involves scam artists using residents' personal information to apply for unemployment benefits or, in other cases, residents who have received unemployment funds have received calls with scammers stating a mistake was made and asking them to forward the funds.

Attorney General's office communications director Amanda Priest said that this scam appears to be even more common.

To file a complaint about potential scams, residents can call the Attorney General's office at 800-482-8982, email [email protected] or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

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