Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services warning about contact tracing scams

Jacksonville, FL — The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is joining the Federal Trade Commission in issuing a warning about contact tracing scams.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Florida Department of Health and many other agencies have developed contact tracing programs to be able to identify and notify people who have come into contact with someone that has tested positive for the virus. As part of the legitimate program, the health department will send a text, saying to expect a call from a specific number.

However, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says scammers are taking advantage of those who are worried about contracting the virus.

"Contact tracing is a powerful public health tool that helps stop the further spread of COVID-19. We have zero tolerance for scammers trying to take advantage of this essential process during these difficult times. We urge Floridians to use these tips to learn how to protect themselves and their families against potential fraud or identity theft," says Fried.

As part of the contact tracing scam, FDACS says scammers will send a text message posing as a health department worker, but also include a link. If you click the link you will be directed to a fraudulent website or have software downloaded to your device that scammers can then use to access your personal and financial information.

FDACS says some of the scammers will also call you posing as the health department, but then will ask for sensitive information like your Social Security number, bank account information, or a credit card number.

If you've received one of these texts or calls, you should call 1-800-HELP-FLA or visit FloridaConsumerHelp.com to file a complaint.

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