The Minnesota Department of Health appears to have been subjected to a “spoofing” attack after several people received phone calls that appeared to come from the agency’s main phone number.

State health officials say the caller is posing as MDH and requesting personal and business information, including credit card numbers.

MDH did send an automated message to restaurants and other licensed food establishments this week regarding a foodborne illness outbreak involving Romaine lettuce, but that message did not ask for personal or financial information apparently requested in the spoofing calls.

The state’s chief information security officer Aaron Call called it an example, “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.”

State officials say legitimate public health calls do not ask for social security numbers, bank account or credit card numbers. They add that legitimate callers should be able to provide specific, verifiable contact information, such as that of their supervisor or work unit.

They are encouraging anyone that fell victim to the scam to contact their local police department.