The Department of Professional and Financial Regulation issued an alert Thursday to warn owners and operators of cosmetology, manicuring and barbering establishments about an apparent scam that’s been reported by business operators in York and Aroostook counties.

The department, which licenses cosmetologists, manicurists, aestheticians, barbers and establishments, has learned businesses are being contacted by phone, informed an investigation is being conducted on behalf of state government, and told to provide personal information about employees. The caller also discusses fines for not complying with the request for information.

Department Commissioner Anne Head encourages licensees to contact the Barbering and Cosmetology Program in the Office of Licensing and Registration if called by anyone who threatens an inspection, investigation or fines. The program telephone number is 624-8625 (TTY: 888-577-6690).

“The department is not calling barber shops or cosmetology businesses to request information about employees or to threaten investigations or fines,” Head said. “The state does inspect these establishments to help ensure public health and safety, but inspectors do not conduct their work in this manner. Anyone who receives a call of this kind should report it to the licensing program.”

The commissioner also indicated that business operators may wish to notify their local police department, as well as the Office of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, which can be reached by calling 800-436-2131.