November 1, 2019
LANSING - After a recent uptick in phone scams targeting residents, Attorney General Dana Nessel, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon and Michigan Association for Local Public Health Executive Director Meghan Swain are warning Michiganders about scammers posing as public health officials to steal personal information.
Several local health departments – including Bay, Jackson, Livingston, Monroe, and Washtenaw counties – have received reports from residents about calls from individuals seeking personal information that could be used to steal someone's identity.
“Scammers use every tool they have to take advantage of anyone they can,” Nessel said. “It is important residents remember they should never give personal and confidential information to unsolicited callers. Simply hang up and report the call to our office.”
The callers claim to be from a local health department and appear to be calling from health department phone numbers, a practice that is commonly known as spoofing.
Anyone who receives one of those calls should hang up immediately. No one should give out personal information to an unsolicited caller.
“Local public health and Medicaid officials will never call you to request account information, Social Security numbers or passwords,” said Gordon. “Remain diligent about protecting your personal information and end the call immediately if you get this kind of inquiry over the phone.”
“We are concerned that spoofers are using a trusted community entity like the local health department to obtain personal information on residents for possible illegal activity,” Swain said. “Local health departments are aware of the issue and want to ensure the public that we would not ask for personal information over the phone. If there is a concern by an individual who has been spoofed, we encourage them to contact the local health department immediately to notify them of spoofing and to confirm if the department is attempting to contact them.”
Those who wish to make a report about these calls can do so by contacting the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. A complaint can be filed online or by calling 877-765-8388.