The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services is warning residents of a potential telephone scam related to COVID-19.

At least one person reported receiving a call from someone claiming to be a contract tracer. The caller told that person that they had been exposed to COVID-19 at a local business, recited the person's credit card number and asked for the card's three-digit security code.

The Health Department said in a Tuesday news release that its staff never asks for credit card or banking information, nor for Social Security numbers. Workers are trained to comply with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and other privacy laws. Contact tracers and investigators ask only for demographic information such as race, ethnicity and age. Information shared with them is kept private.

Residents who are suspicious of calls from someone claiming to be a contact tracer or case investigator should call the Health Department at 573-874-7355 or email so the identity of the caller can be verified.

  • I've been a reporter and editor at Missouri community newspapers for 35 years and joined the Columbia Missourian in 2003. My emphasis at the Missourian is on local government and elections. You can reach me at or at 573-884-5366.

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