State health officials are warning Minnesotans to be wary of fraudulent phone calls after receiving reports of a “spoofing” attack in which perpetrators disguise their caller ID numbers and then seek personal and financial information from consumers.
The callers have been posing as state health personnel and using the Minnesota Department of Health’s caller ID and main phone number (651-201-5700) in their appeals for data such as credit card numbers.
“This example is demonstrative of the tactics used every day by those intent on stealing our personal information or disrupting the important services on which so many Minnesotans rely,” Aaron Call, the state’s chief information security officer, said in a statement Wednesday.
The only automated calls issued recently by the state Health Department were targeted at food establishments and addressed the current E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce. Those calls did not ask for personal or financial information.
Anyone receiving a suspicious call that purports to be from the Health Department should hang up and then call the agency to determine if the call was authentic. Legitimate public health calls don’t request Social Security numbers, bank account information or credit card numbers.