PVH warns of phone scams

POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Pleasant Valley Hospital (PVH) has been made aware and wanted to advise local residents about a phone scam in the area involving callers posing as representatives from the Regional Health Center at PVH. 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 Regional Health Center at PVH. Scams, such as this one, have been targeting hospital patients nationwide.

Please help educate your family, friends, neighbors, and others about this.

Our hospital offers the following tips about this recent phone scam:

-If you have not been a patient at PVH, or are not currently scheduled for a medical procedure, it is unlikely that you would be receiving a call from PVH.

-If you are a patient of PVH and the Regional Health Center (or a patient at one of their physician practices) 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 304.675.4340 to talk with Administration.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 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 name, 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 / 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 voicemail if you do not set a password.

Is blocking a phone number the same thing as spoofing?

Spoofing is not the same thing as blocking a phone number. FCC rules require telephone companies to make phone number blocking available and free for all calls between states (each state makes its own rules about calls that stay within the state). If you receive a phone call from an “unknown number,” that phone number has been blocked, but not necessarily spoofed. Also, you can legally block the transmission of your phone number when you make calls, so your number will appear as “unknown.”

What are the FCC rules regarding Caller ID for telemarketers?

FCC rules specifically require that a telemarketer:

-Transmit or display its telephone number or the telephone number on whose behalf the call is being made, and, if possible, its name or the name of the company for which it is selling products or services.

-Display a telephone number you can call during regular business hours to ask to no longer be called. This rule applies even to companies that already have an established business relationship with you.

How do I report suspected spoofing?

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.

Submitted by PVH.