Intermountain Healthcare warns of ‘spoofing’ caller ID scam

Composite image created to depict spoofing alert | Seewhatmitchsees, Getty Images, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Dixie Regional Medical Center issued a warning Wednesday after receiving several complaints from local residents claiming they received sales calls that appear to originate from “Intermountain Healthcare” on their caller ID.

“These calls are not coming from Intermountain Healthcare or from Dixie Regional Medical Center,” Terri Draper, spokeswoman for Intermountain Healthcare said in a statement.

Local residents have reported they are receiving automated calls showing up as “Intermountain Healthcare” on their caller ID, only to hear a recorded message offering a low-interest Visa credit card.

Recipients are then asked to press “option 1” on their telephone keypad if they are interested in the offer, at which time they are connected to a live person. If the recipient then questions why “Intermountain Healthcare” is displayed on their caller ID, the call is immediately disconnected.

“We believe someone is spoofing Intermountain Healthcare phone numbers to prompt people to pick up their phones, since they would think it is one of our hospitals or clinics calling,” Draper said.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, “spoofing” is defined as deliberately falsifying information that is transmitted to the recipient’s caller ID display to disguise the individual’s identity.

“Our legal and compliance teams are already working on this, but we want to let people know what’s going on because we want them to be safe,” Draper told St. George News.

The first reports of the scam came in approximately a month ago, she said. The company began looking into the issue and had no other complaints until Tuesday, which prompted it to release the information to the public.

Draper also said there is a concern that people will ignore important calls that are actually coming from the hospital regarding a medical condition because they believe it is a scam call.

“We wanted to get something out to the community because people need to trust that if their caller ID says ‘Intermountain Healthcare’ then it’s really coming from Intermountain Healthcare,” Draper said.

The public is encouraged to be cautious with any suspicious calls, she said, and to report the activity to both the Federal Communications Commission by clicking here, and the Federal Trade Commission by clicking here.

Intermountain Healthcare reported the incidents to both federal agencies and is working to resolve the issue.

Scammers are using fake caller ID information to trick individuals into thinking the call is originating from a local number, or a number of someone they trust, such as a government agency or police department, or a local company, Andrew Johnson, from the FTC’s Division of Consumer Education said in a statement last year.

“Don’t rely on caller ID to verify who’s calling. It can be nearly impossible to tell whether the caller ID information is real,” he said.

Here are tips from the FTC on how to handle these types of calls:

  • If you get a strange call from the government, hang up. Government employees won’t call out of the blue to demand money or account information.
  • Don’t give out, or confirm, any personal or financial information to someone who calls.
  • Don’t wire money or send money using a reloadable card.
  • Never pay someone who calls out of the blue, even if the name or number on the caller ID looks legitimate.
  • If you are feeling pressured to act immediately, hang up. That is a sure sign of a scam.

Additional tips for avoiding scams can be found at 10 Ways to Avoid Fraud.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Posted in Local, NewsTagged , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments

  • great success September 27, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Oh. For a second I thought this article was about Intermountain’s shady practices of overbilling and charging their patients INTEREST on ridiculously overpriced care in monthly installments. My bad.

    • ladybugavenger September 27, 2017 at 8:01 pm

      Lol That’s the truth

  • r2d2 September 27, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    A lot of the we can lower your credit card interest rate from local numbers. I’m on the do not call registry and don’t have any credit cards. Something has to be done.

Leave a Reply