Genesee County Health Department warns of ‘spoofing’ phone scams

GENESEE COUNTY — The Genesee County Health Department has issued a warning about an ongoing phone scam that is targeting residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

In recent weeks, county health officials have received many inquiries from residents about phone calls that were made using the health department’s name and phone numbers. However, these calls were not made by any of its staff. The Genesee County Health Department never asks for personal or financial information over the phone.

The scammers are using a technique called “caller ID spoofing,” in which individuals are falsely displaying the Health Department’s information on consumers’ caller IDs and attempting to obtain Medicare insurance information or other sensitive information from the public.

Scammers tend to use a local number or a number from a trusted business to increase the likelihood that residents will answer the phone. In this case, they are using Genesee County’s Health Department’s phone numbers (810-742-2255 or 810-257-3612). The Health Department’s number shows up on your caller ID, but it’s really a scammer on the line.

If you receive one of these calls, simply hang up. If you get a message on your answering machine, do not return the call. And most importantly, never give out personal information over the phone, such as account numbers, social security numbers, your mother’s maiden name or passwords to an unsolicited caller or if you are at all suspicious.

The health department is working closely with the county’s IT department and have been assured that no data breach has occurred. This is from an outside source and has no connection to Genesee County.

Those who wish to file a complaint can do so by visiting the Michigan Attorney General Consumer Protection Division website: tinyurl.com/MIAGComplaint, and clicking on “Report Illegal Robocalls.” —B.G.