The Arkansas Department of Health is warning about two recent scams where individuals posed as officials to try and extract payment from victims.
In one case, a caller purporting to be a contact tracer directed a person to quarantine and said they needed to provide a credit card to get a letter of release.
“Legitimate case investigators and contact tracers affiliated with the Department of Health will never ask for payment or request any credit card or bank account information,” said Dr. José R. Romero, Secretary of Health. “Case investigators and contact tracers have one goal—to keep you and others safe and healthy.”
While ADH case investigators may call from different phone numbers, contact tracers will generally use (877) 272-6819 or (833) 283-2019. If you want to verify that you have been contacted by a Health Department case investigator or contact tracer, you may call (800) 803-7847.
If you believe you have been contacted by a scammer posing as an official, you can report these calls to the Attorney General’s office online at www.ArkansasAG.gov, by emailing [email protected] or by calling (800) 482-8982. Please note the time of the call and the number it came from when you report it.
“Inspectors from the Arkansas Department of Health will never demand on-the-spot payments for inspections, citations or contact tracing,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “In difficult times we often see bad actors trying to take advantage of hardworking Arkansans, and I urge anyone experiencing a fraudulent contact tracer or immediate payment over the phone to call my office and let us do the fighting for you.”
In a separate scam reported recently, someone fraudulently claimed to be an inspector and then demanded payment from at least one Pulaski County eatery.
Legitimate ADH inspectors carry identification with the agency logo and will always be willing to provide it when asked. ADH inspectors will also never ask for money.
The business owner reported that the scammer claimed to be a health inspector on two occasions recently. In both visits, the scammer surveyed the business and then demanded payments for inspection fees.
ADH requested that the business report the crime to police and to alert authorities if the fake inspector returns.
The Department of Health also conducts inspections involving cosmetology services, plumbing, natural gas, and other areas. In any inspection, the same standard applies: an ADH inspector can provide identification and will not request payment.
Any other business that believes it may have been victimized should call police and also notify the Department of Health.
If a business has questions about an inspection or a payment request, the Environmental Health Protection program can be reached during normal business hours at (501) 661-2171.