The BC Centre for Disease Control is warning people that someone is using monkeypox in an attempt to scam the public.
The scam starts with an automated call claiming to have test results or exposure information regarding the virus.
“Public health does not use automated messages to notify individuals of infections or possible exposures,” warned the BCCDC in a press release.
The monkeypox virus, which has been confirmed in 173 people in British Columbia, spreads by close, often skin-to-skin contact.
In its first stage, the virus leads to flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue; in phase two, painful sores or blisters can develop across the body and last for two to three weeks.
After someone tests positive for a communicable disease like monkeypox, public health contact tracers will reach out to people to find who they may have exposed. The BCCDC says it will never ask for financial information during case or contact tracing.
Scammers have tried to deceive victims around contact tracing before. In one case reported to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre, fraudsters posed as agents from the Public Health Agency of Canada, offering false COVID-19 test results as part of a scam.
The BCCDC is warning people to be on the lookout for fake phishing emails, texts and robocalls designed to steal personal and financial details.
Eligible British Columbians are encouraged to get vaccinated with a first and second dose of the monkeypox vaccine.