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Reported scammer claims to be from Oakland County Health Division

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published February 28, 2020

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OAKLAND COUNTY — Law enforcement officials in Oakland County want to spread the word to seniors and their loved ones that a new phone scam appears to be making the rounds, this time with the caller impersonating agents from the Oakland County Health Division.

On Feb. 26, Health Division officials said they had received numerous complaints from older residents who reportedly had received phone calls from someone at the division requesting Social Security and Medicare information.

The caller has allegedly told victims that their information is needed for Medicare billing or to fix a Medicare breach, or comes at a doctor’s request to secure a covered knee brace. The number on the caller ID display even has shown up as the Health Division.

Leigh-Anne Stafford, the health officer for Oakland County, said she wants to remind all residents that the Health Division does not contact residents to request personal or protected information over the phone.

“This scam targets older adults to obtain their sensitive information by impersonating our organization,” Stafford said in a press release. “If you receive a call and are unsure if it’s a scam, ask the caller for their name, a return phone number and avoid sharing any personal information over the phone. Then report suspicious behavior to authorities.”

Stafford’s office released tips for identity protection and to avoid becoming a victim of phone scams, including:

• Make a list of contact information for family members, close friends, health providers or anyone who might call regularly. This will help you to spot legitimate calls.

• Let a call go to voicemail if you don’t recognize the phone number. Scammers rarely leave messages.

• Hang up if a stranger asks for personal or financial information. If you do answer the phone, it’s OK to hang up.

• Remember that government agencies typically send letters about important information. They will not call or email.

• Don’t share any personal information, like Social Security numbers, with anyone over the phone.

Residents who believe they received a scam call can report the incident on the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office’s nonemergency line or to their local police agency. The Oakland County Health Division and the Nurse on Call can be reached at (800) 848-5533.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a request for comment before press time.

For up-to-date public health information, visit oakgov.com/health and follow @publichealthoc on Facebook and Twitter.

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