CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – According to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the hospital has been notified by people on numerous occasions that someone is deliberately falsifying or “spoofing” their caller ID in an attempt to make calls look like they are coming from the hospital.
“Sometimes these callers ask for payment or other confidential information in an attempt to scam the person they have called,” said a hospital spokesperson.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reported scam text message campaigns and robocalls that prey on virus-related fears during the pandemic.
Patrick Webre, Chief of FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, said, “they know consumers are concerned about their health and their financial condition because of Covid so scammers are using these fears to try and scam us out of money.”
MUSC said they notified the FCC of the calls and will work with them to identify those involved.
“Under the federal Truth in Caller ID Act, FCC rules prohibit any person or entity from transmitting misleading or falsified caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongly obtain anything of value. In our view, any person who fraudulently impersonates an MUSC phone number for telemarketing or scamming purposes is committing a federal crime. If MUSC is able to identify the person or entity behind a fraudulent telemarketing campaign, we will file a formal complaint with the FCC. The FCC can pursue penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation of the Truth in Caller ID Act.MUSC Spokesperson
Webre said scammers can change the number they are calling from to make it appear legitimate.
“It makes it look like a a legitimate source from a hospital or a billing center of a medical provider. They can spoof those numbers,” he said.
He encourages people to avoid picking up calls from numbers they don’t recognize. If a company leaves a message asking for someone to return their call, Webre recommended searching for the company’s number online and returning the call to the number listed on their website to ensure it is not a ‘spoofed’ number.
MUSC representatives encouraged people to save as much information about the call as possible.
“If someone in the community receives one of these fraudulent calls, please capture any identifying information about the caller and the information they tried to obtain, and do not provide any sensitive, private or financial information over the phone. We encourage all patients with concerns in this regard, especially related to MUSC billing, to reach out directly to the MUSC billing department. MUSC will then file an actionable complaint with the FCC.”MUSC Spokesperson