ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Health is warning of a texting scam regarding contact tracing for COVID-19.

Health officials have been using contact tracing to identify people that have been around someone who has tested positive for the virus to help minimize the spread, but Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann says scammers have started to take advantage of the process.

Scammers are sending texts that tell the recipient that someone with whom they had contact has tested positive and to click a link for more information. Depending on the specific attack, by clicking on the link the victim could be prompted to download unwanted software that can access data on their phone, or they may be directed to a site that tries to trick them into revealing sensitive information.

Ehresmann says all state and local public health workers will begin the process with a phone call. She says if you receive a text message before you get such a phone call, you should delete it immediately.

She also says its important never to give out sensitive information such as your social security number, passwords, or bank information unless you have verified the identity of the person asking for it.

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