Ken Paxton
Consumer Protection

"Texas Health Department" Shopping Spree is a Scam

Consumers report that they have received calls from someone claiming to be from the "Texas Health Department." The caller tells the consumer that he or she has won a $1000 shopping spree and health insurance. The caller then tries to extract personal financial information.

[Listen to an actual call here. (Windows Media Audio file)]

The Texas Department of State Health Services (this is the correct name of the agency) provides health, mental health and substance abuse services to Texans. It does not have a program to give away shopping sprees or insurance. The call is a scam and a trick to get your banking information. As always, I urge you to beware of strangers calling to offer you money. Invariably, you will find that they want YOU to give THEM money. And you should never give personal information to a person who calls you and asks for it for any reason whatsoever.

I wish you a safe and happy holiday.

ABOUT CONSUMER ALERTS - The Office of the Attorney General accepts consumer complaints about businesses. When a pattern of complaints warrants intervention, the Attorney General can file a civil lawsuit under consumer protection statutes, sometimes with the result that a company is required to pay restitution to consumers -- see our Major Lawsuits page. However, when a consumer is swindled by a con artist, filing a complaint cannot help. Civil litigation can sometimes put a very unscrupulous business out of action, but often cannot produce restitution.

Individual con artists generally fall under the jurisdiction of a criminal prosecutor -- in Texas, this is the district or county attorney. But even when they are charged and convicted, these individuals usually have spent the money as fast as they have stolen it. A person who is the victim of fraud should report the incident to the police or sheriff. But by far the best thing is for consumers to be aware of fraud, so they are not swindled in the first place. For this reason, the Office of the Attorney General posts these Consumer Alerts about possible scams and schemes that come to our attention through citizen contacts to our office or other sources.