June 3, 2021 – Toronto Public Health (TPH) is warning the public about fraudulent text messages about COVID-19 test results. The agency took to Twitter Tuesday to spread awareness about the scam.
“These messages are falsely claiming to be from TPH staff and include threatening language that may be upsetting to the recipients,” the agency said via Twitter. “These messages are falsely claiming to be from TPH staff and include threatening language that may be upsetting to the recipients,” the city’s public health agency wrote in a series of messages posted June 1 on Twitter.
On its website, TPH said it does correspond with residents through text messages, emails and phone calls but, when it does, it asks residents to confirm their identity before providing support and information to make sure people are following public health guidelines and restrictions.
“If you receive any type of communication that fraudulently claims to be from TPH, please do not share any personal information with the sender,”
Most often, TPH will contact residents if they’ve tested positive for COVID-19. When it does, it will confirm the positive test results before asking about symptoms, determining the period of self-isolation, and help identify close contacts to notify them to get tested.
All messages are delivered by the Virtual Assistant Tool, which is part of the Government of Ontario’s case and contact management system and is used to contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in certain settings. Text messages from TPH will be from 77000 and include a secure link to complete a personal assessment form.
“All information collected through the tool is kept confidential and protected by Ontario’s health laws. It will only be used for public health purposes,” the City noted on its website.
The agency is asking anyone who thinks they are contacted with a fraudulent message to them to contact the TPH hotline at 416-338-7600.