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State, Sedgwick County warn of fake text messages claiming COVID-19 exposure

(KWCH)
Published: Apr. 9, 2020 at 11:14 AM CDT
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The Sedgwick County Health Department and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt warn citizens about text-message scams related to COVID-19.

The health department says it's been notified that some residents have received text messages claiming to be the Sedgwick County Health Department. The text then states the resident has come in contact with someone with COVID-19.

The resident is directed to fill out a survey at a link provided online.

The health department says this is a scam because it:

1) First calls all potential close contacts of COVID-19 cases as part of infectious disease monitoring

2) Uses text messaging only after verbal permission from a close contact.

3) Never asks for personal information in an online survey, such as a social security number.

If you receive a scam text claiming to be from someone with the Sedgwick County Health Department, you are asked report it by taking a screenshot and sending it to

Schmidt warns Kansans about a text message that reads "Someone who came in contact with you tested positive or has shown symptoms for COVID-19 and recommends you self-isolate/get tested."

The text then contains a link to a website for more information. Do not click on the link or respond to the message.

“The situation surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak has created a new avenue for scammers to take advantage of the public’s apprehension and uncertainty,” Schmidt says. “We’ve received numerous complaints regarding different types of scams, but this one was particularly egregious for attempting to mislead those targeted into thinking they might have contracted the virus. Anyone who receives this message should not respond, and instead contact our office or appropriate local authorities for help.”

The Kansas attorney general says his office has received reports of numerous COVID-19-related scams circulating in Kansas. Other scams taking advantage of the pandemic "include sales of bogus products advertised as coronavirus prevention measures of treatments, as well as scammers impersonating federal, state or local government officials."

Any Kansan contacted by a COVID-19 scammer should file a complaint with the attorney general's

on a form specifically designed to cover COVID-19-related scams and price gouging. You can also call (800) 432-2310 to request a paper complaint form to be sent by mail.

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