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Health care phone scams – the latest version

Does anyone answer the phone anymore? When you do get a call on your phone, it’s hard to tell through caller ID who it is. Many phone scammers are using local, genuine-looking phone numbers.

Scammers are also pretending to be legitimate businesses to get your personal information. The Federal Trade Commission received more than 375,000 complaints about robo-calls every month last year.

The latest scam involves an IVR call. An interactive voice response (IVR) is an automated telephone system that interacts with callers and gathers information and routes calls.

Here’s an example of how the scam works:

You receive a voicemail on your phone asking about your medicine and the caller ID said it came from a company you do business with. When you call back because you think it is a legitimate message, you get the IVR. The IVR message says it has important information for you about your benefits or the medicine you take, and then prompts you to verify your phone number. Once you do that, it starts asking you to provide more and more protected health information (PHI).

What should you do in a situation like that?

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska Chief Security Officer, Kerry Kremke, says if you feel that a call or message you receive just doesn’t sound right, or that you’ve never been contacted this way by a health care provider or insurance company you use—hang up.

Then use the telephone numbers you know are legitimate for the company to contact them, not the one on the caller ID.

“They are trying to make sure they have a real number and can then associate it with you,” Kremke said. “That information can be used to set up false accounts or be sold to companies.”

In the IVR example, eventually you will get a real person on the line, a professional scammer, who proceeds to finds ways to get access to even more information like your date of birth, Social Security number or a health insurance ID number.

Don’t be fooled.

“The callers are likely to use your information in some sort of medical supply scam,” Kremke said. “We’ve see a number of those in the last few years.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska may contact you to inform you about your plan but will never ask for your personal information. Nor do we sell your personal information to other companies for marketing purposes. If you get this type of call claiming to be us, hang up and call us on our Fraud Hotline at 877.632.2583. You can also call the number shown on the back of your Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska ID card.

If you believe you have been scammed contact the Nebraska Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800.727.6432.

By |2018-10-11T16:02:49+00:00October 5th, 2018|Categories: Security, Topics|Tags: , , , , , , |Comments Off on Health care phone scams – the latest version

About the Author:

As media relations manager at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska, Marcia is also the Managing Editor of the Newsroom. She is a former journalist and member of the Nebraska Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, the Omaha Press Club and QUAD.