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Michiganders Warned of Scammers Posing as Health Officials
Michigan Ag Connection - 02/13/2020

Telephone scammers are posing as human services officials and attempting to steal personal information from unsuspecting Michigan residents, Attorney General Dana Nessel, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon and the Michigan State Police warned Wednesday.

Officials have received multiple complaints from residents who have been contacted by scammers pretending to be MDHHS employees in Kalamazoo County who then ask for personal information that could be used to steal identities. The scammers often use a practice known as spoofing, which allows phone calls to appear as if they are coming from real department phone numbers.

Anyone who receives one of those calls should hang up the phone. No one should give out personal information to an unsolicited caller.

"If you are ever asked by an unsolicited caller to give out personal information, don't do it," Nessel said. "Hang up the phone immediately and report anything that you suspect might be a scam to our office."

In the past several months, multiple local health departments have also received reports of scammers posing as public health officials from residents in Bay, Jackson, Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw counties.

"MDHHS does not call clients and ask for detailed personal information over the phone," said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. "At most a department caseworker would ask for a date of birth or the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you have any doubts, ask to call the worker back and use the local office switchboard to connect."

The Michigan State Police offers tips on how to avoid becoming a scam victim:

- Never give personal information to an unknown caller;

- Do not respond to unsolicited emails from an unknown sender;

- Confirm the identity of a contact by independently speaking with the identified source (your bank, credit card company, government agency, etc.);

- Use a reliable source to confirm the contact's phone number or email; and

- Report any suspicious contacts to police.

Those who wish to make a report about scam 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.

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