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Police warn people not click links in scam COVID-19 text messages

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Posted at 3:27 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 15:34:53-04

THOMASTON, Maine (WTXL) — A police department in Maine is alerting cell phone users of a text message scam involving COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the Thomaston Police Department posted a photo of a text message someone received. The text appears to come from an Indiana area code and tells the recipient that they need to self-isolate because they came in contact with someone who tested positive for or is showing symptoms of the virus.

If you get a similar text, police are warning you not to click the link.

The police department said that the message doesn't come from an official agency and could be a scam trying to gather personal information from people who fall for the text.

The Better Business Bureau also alerted the public about similar text messages that claim to be from a governmental agency telling you to take a "mandatory online COVID-19 test." BBB has also gotten reports of texts urging recipients to complete “the census” or fill out an online application in order to receive their stimulus check.

The BBB says texts like these are phishing for personal information. They also can download malware to your device, which opens you up to risk for identity theft.

“The virus is not the only invisible enemy,” the department wrote in the Facebook post. “Be vigilant against all threats!”

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering