Phone scammers target Leelanau residents, asking for personal info

Mar 22, 2020

Center for Disease Control and Prevention's image depicting the coronavirus.
Credit CDC

Leelanau residents are getting phone calls telling them they’re selected for free COVID-19 testing, asking them for personal information.

The caller ID reads as a Leelanau number and looks safe to answer, but it’s not, says County Administrator Chet Janik.

 

When the call is answered, a pre-recorded message plays.

“(It says) they have been selected by county officials for a free virus screen test, and then if you press the button, they ask you for personal information — name address and then there’s a small processing fee that goes along with their process, so they want a credit card,” Janik says. 

It also asks for social security numbers. 

He says the county is not asking anyone to participate in free testing and the call is a scam.

“So the message I have for individuals is if they get a call, if it sounds like a scam, it probably is a scam,” Janik says.

Local police have been notified, he says, but there’s not much they can do to trace the original number.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel sent out a press release last week, notifying the state about an onslaught of scams related to COVID-19.

Last Thursday, her office reported that an Oakland County resident was contacted by a phone scammer who alluded they could give out COVID-19 test kits, but the person had to pre-pay for it. 

“Pre-paying for products that never arrive is only one method scammers will use to rob people of their hard-earned money or to steal personal information from unsuspecting victims,” Nessel said in a statement. “We may start to see more scams related to COVID-19, and I urge Michiganders to remain vigilant. We must not fall victim to these predatory practices.”