The Ohio Department of Health issued a statement this week warning the public about a phone scam where callers are posing as employees of the health department in order to gain access to personal information.
The scammers use ID spoofing technology to fool people by making it appear they are calling from legitimate numbers.
Victims of the scam have reported receiving calls from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or other local hospital or healthcare providers, officials said.
The callers will often have some knowledge of their victims including name, birth date, address and primary doctor. They will use those details to sound more credible.
The crimes are currently under investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The Ohio Department of Health has laid out the following tips to avoid being scammed:
- 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's or government agency's website to 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 information 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[FTC.gov].