By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer
(April 11, 2019) A Medicare information spoofing scam reached Worcester County last week, as health department officials found the Berlin Health Office’s phone number being “illegally and fraudulently used,” the department said in a Facebook post.
Spoofing involves impersonating a legitimate phone number to persuade someone to give away personal information for fraudulent or illegal purposes, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
Travis Brown, public information officer for the Worcester County Health Department, said the agency learned about the spoofing calls Monday after speaking with people from outside of the county.
“These individuals reported receiving calls from out Berlin Health Center phone number and called the center in confusion,” Brown said in a statement. “Some of these reports were from individuals as far away as Texas and Wisconsin.”
The FCC offered several tips to help people avoid spoofing situations:
- Exercise caution when responding to a request to give out personal information.
- Don’t give out personal information including account numbers, social security numbers, passwords, mother’s maiden names, or other incriminating information.
- If the caller claims to represent a company or government organization, and requesting payment, the FCC suggests hanging up and calling the phone number from an account statement, phone book or other verified source. Officials added legitimate organizations would offer a written statement in the mail.
Brown said the health department has also taken measures to file an incident report to the FCC.
Incoming calls to the Berlin Health Office, 410-629-0164, will be transferred to health department offices, the department said in a statement.