Michigan AG warns of fake health department phone calls seeking Medicaid, Medicare information amid coronavirus outbreak

Scammers taking advantage of residents’ concern amid outbreak


Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Thursday that scammers are taking advantage of residents’ concern due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the state.

Officials warned that scammers are pretending to call from at least one local health department, promising medication to residents and asking for Medicaid or Medicare information for billing purposes. Callers are then flooding the health department’s phone lines, impacting their ability to respond to the outbreak efficiently, officials said.

Nessel released a consumer alert on the matter here.

Though recent reports have come from Ionia County, officials say that anyone who receives a call that might be a scam should hang up and be sure not to give out personal information.

“Scammers will not hesitate to gain access to your private information, and false promises of medications will not be fulfilled,” Nessel said. “As a result of this scam, the number of calls to local public health departments are also hindering their ability to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Never provide any personal information over the phone unless you have first independently confirmed who you are talking to.”

Michigan state officials also warn residents to be aware of online scams selling fake products and sharing false information on COVID-19 tests and treatments. Scams may come in the form of emails or online posts pitching fake tests and cures for COVID-19, unreliable products and advice in an effort to steal residents’ personal information, officials said.

Residents can report potential scams, price gouging or other violations of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team here.

For the latest outbreak updates from the state, click here.

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About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.