FARGO — The Fargo Police Department warns the public about scammers claiming to be COVID-19 contact tracers.

The scammers send text messages pretending to be from a contact tracing site informing you of possible COVID-19 exposure.

Clicking the link downloads malware that can give scammers access to personal and financial information.

Most people will be contacted only by phone by one of nearly 60 organizations helping North Dakota perform contact tracing.

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The North Dakota Department of Health may send out a text, but it would never contain a link.

Brenton Nesemeier, a field epidemiologist with the North Dakota Department of Health said tracers only need basic information.

"We may ask for your address, your date of birth, or your phone number, but we are never going to ask for your banking information, your social security number, or any of that ingrained personal information," he said.

Real contact tracing calls can come from a couple of organizations including universities and local and state health departments.

But Nesemeier reminds everyone to take the tracking calls seriously.

"I think contact tracing has done a great job. it lets people know to be aware of symptoms, it lets people know what to look for and help make sure people are staying home," he said.

North Dakota hasn't been affected by these scams as much as the rest of the country, but you should always make sure calls are from verified contact tracing centers.