Contact tracing is a key public health tool routinely used to slow the spread of COVID-19. Public health workers conducting contact tracing initially will reach out by phone to people who have become infected or exposed to determine whether others may have been exposed as well. However, in recent weeks there have been reports of scammers impersonating public health workers.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers are sending texts that say you came in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Clicking on the link in these text scams could download unwanted software that can access data on your phone or direct you to a site that tries to trick you into revealing sensitive information like your Social Security number, bank information, passwords, or medical information.
The Minnesota Department of Health would text someone only after contacting them by phone, so anyone who receives a text message without having already heard from public health officials by phone should ignore and delete the text.