A scam involving phone calls from fake health department staff has raised alarms.
The Ohio Department of Health is warning residents about callers posing as its staff members and asking for personal information that the department would never seek over the phone.
The scam artists use caller ID spoofing technology to make it appear that they are calling from a credible phone number, including from ODH and at least one Ohio local health department.
Some callers have said that they work for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or a hospital or other health care provider. They often have some personal information about the individuals they are calling, such as name, date of birth, address, and the name of the person’s physician.
Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim of a phone scam:
• If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up and find a phone number on the company or government agency’s website, then call to verify the authenticity of the request.
• Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden name, passwords, or other identifying details in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
• Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
• You can block the caller’s phone number to try to prevent follow up calls, although the caller may call back from a different phone number.
• File a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
Since this scam includes caller ID spoofing of a state agency, the Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating these calls.