Hospital Warns of Possible Scam Phone Calls

posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2022 in General

Spencer Hospital officials have been made aware and want to advise local residents about a phone scam in our area involving callers posing as representatives from the hospital or one of the hospital’s affiliated clinics. This is a case of Caller ID “spoofing,” a high-tech manipulation of the Caller ID feature that allows the scammer to disguise their true identity by making the phone number appear to be that of the hospital.

“This scam has been targeting hospital patients nationwide, and unfortunately, healthcare entities in our area are also learning that local patients are receiving calls from scammers, pretending to be their local hospital or clinic, in attempt to obtain confidential information from families,” explained Susan Zulk, spokesperson for Spencer Hospital.

“Please help us educate your family, friends, neighbors and others about such scams,” Zulk asked. “Do not provide confidential information over the phone unless you placed the call to the medical center. If you doubt that a call is legitimate, hang up and call the hospital or your clinic. If it is one of us, we will welcome your return call and understand your hesitation.”

Here are some additional tips:

  • If you have not been a patient at Spencer Hospital or are not currently scheduled for a medical procedure, it is unlikely that you would be receiving a call from the hospital.
  • If you are a Spencer Hospital patient, or patient of one of the hospital associated services or clinics, and  you are unsure as to why you would receive a call from them, ask for the caller’s name, hospital department and a direct phone number to call them back. You may also call the hospital’s Business Services Departments directly at (712) 264-8300.

Also, the Federal Communications Commission offers these tips:

  • You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. Be careful about responding to ANY request for personal identifying information.
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
  • If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book or on the company's or government agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request.
  • Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
  • If you have a voicemail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.

If you receive a call and you suspect Caller ID information has been falsified, or you think the rules for protecting the privacy of your telephone number have been violated, you can file a complaint with the FCC. You have multiple options for filing a complaint with the FCC:

File a complaint online

By phone: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322); ASL Videophone: 1-844-432-2275

By mail (please include your name, address, contact information and as much detail about your complaint as possible):

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554