Additionally, several patients have reported calls from individuals identifying themselves as representatives of healthcare systems requesting confirmation of health information. According to the patients, the incoming calls sometimes display a Privia Health provider’s name on the caller ID. This type of scam is known as spoofing. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity.¹ Scammers can make an incoming call appear to be coming from a local number, company or a government agency that you may already know and trust. After the patient answers, the callers use scripts to attempt to gain personal information, which can be used to commit fraud. It may not always be easy to tell that an incoming call is spoofed.
In an effort to protect patient information from scammers, we recommend exercising caution when deciding whether to respond to requests for protected health information. If you receive a request from an unfamiliar source, call the requesting entity at a phone number listed on the organization’s website or similar trustworthy source, and inquire about the authenticity of the request. When responding to written requests from an unfamiliar source, confirm the requestor is legitimate before sending PHI.
We also recommend sharing the following helpful tips with staff and patients:
- 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.
- Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
- If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
- Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device. The FCC allows phone companies to block robocalls by default based on reasonable analytics. Was this article helpful?
- More information about robocall blocking is available at fcc.gov/robocalls.