Call spoofing is a menace terrorizing different sectors of the economy. Even the healthcare industry isn’t immune to call spoofing and flagging. Recently, cases of spoofing hospital phone numbers have been on the rise. This is not only detrimental to consumers, but it also has a blowback on the hospitals themselves. There are many healthcare calls blocked by carriers, which affect the overall service delivery.
Hospitals are finding their numbers flagged as “scam likely” because of scammers spoofing their numbers. It is possible to find legitimate calls to patients being blocked, something that hinders operations and threatens the efficiency of the health facility.
Cases of Hospital Spoofing Scams
Recently, many hospitals are seeing a rise in their numbers appearing as “scam likely” due to the rise of call spoofing. Scammers have found a soft spot in healthcare, making it difficult for hospitals to undertake their call center activities efficiently. Below are some instances hospital spoofing scams.
Adventist Health, Tehachapi Valley
In July 2018, locals of the Tehachapi community in California received calls from people under the pretense of the hospital’s employees. The scammers asked for credit card details and personal info from the unsuspecting locals. This scam befell on many people eventually ruining the hospital’s reputation.
After detecting the spoofing incident, the health facility issued a warning to the locals not to disclose any personal details.
Nash UNC Health Care, March 2019
Nash UNC Health Care warned its patients of fraudulent spoofing of the hospital’s number. The facility also warned the public against providing any personal information to the callers. Also, Nash UNC Health Center explained how the scammers use tricks to fake identity and spoof the hospital’s numbers. To avoid falling victim, the health facility advised patients on giving out their details to the callers but instead asking for the details from the caller. This is because a legitimate caller from the facility has all the details at hand while the scammer might not have them.
Massena Memorial Hospital, January 2018
Massena Memorial Hospital brought to light the plight of many patients who had a problem of callers asking for personal details. The callers mostly requested for credit card details and personal info as entered in the hospital’s register.
To avoid call spoofing, MMH advised against giving out any details such as credit card details, passwords, mother’s maiden names, SSN/EINs, and names. Also, they informed the community members to hang up any calls and call back the hospital business numbers. They advised anyone receiving a call to ask for names, department, and contacts of the caller. This would be a sure way to trick the callers because they stand no chance of receiving inbound calls.
My Memorial Network, July 2017,
The Memorial Network hospital encountered a spoofing incident in July 2017. Scammers who had spoofed the hospital’s telephone numbers purported to sell vacations to individuals. Many upset community members called back to the facility inquiring about the legitimacy of the holidays, it turned out to be call spoofing. The facility, however, filed a complaint with the FCC about the incident.
In April 2018, the Catawba Valley Medical Center made the headlines in yet another spoofing incident. The hospital claimed that scammers use high-tech manipulation of the caller ID to make calls from a number that appears to be originating from the hospital.
The hospital came out to notify the public that only patients or former visitors at the hospital could receive calls from them. The facility advised anyone unsure of the phone call to hang up and instead call the provided business numbers.
Effects of Hospital Spoofing Scams
These are some of the spoofing incidents in the healthcare industry. Not just hospitals are facing these issues though, even legitimate doctors are struggling with phone number flags.
In one incident, a patient was not receiving calls from her doctor because the number was showing up as “spam likely”. The client had set a block action for all known spammers.
In another case, a patient complained about getting a “scam likely” notification from his legitimate doctor. In a response, they advised the patient how telecommunication companies use call filtering providers to flag spammed numbers.
How Scammers Are Using Call Spoofing to Mimic Hospitals
According to NBC News, scammers use tricks to lure unsuspecting customers. The majority of spoofing scams target personal information. To reach to that aspect, the scammers provide the recipients with undeniable offers and favors such as holidays, free clinics, discounts, etc. Afterward, the scammer asks for personal details to process the offers. This is how scammers lure many people into dishing out sensitive information.
After a series of calls, some recipients end up realizing the scamming incidents, thus marking the numbers as scam likely. This is how hospitals end up having their numbers marked flagged.
Why Are Hospitals Particularly Targeted?
Hospitals are legitimate and reliable organizations, and consumers are more likely to communicate with these. Additionally, their phone number and contact information are easily available for scammers to find and abuse. This makes hospital spoofing scams more appealing and lucrative for scammers.
First of all, health facilities have direct communication and follow-up with their patients. This communication means that not many health facilities have inbound and outbound-specific numbers. As a result, many health facilities cannot take advantage of the Do Not Originate List (DNO), which marks numbers as inbound only.
Scammers exploit this gap to spoof numbers belonging to health facilities.
Hospitals are among the primary users of robocalls. Many health facilities are struggling with the constant barrage of robocalls despite their numerous advantages.
Side Effects of Robocall Crackdowns for Healthcare
While robocalls are a definite nuisance, cracking down on them has created some unforeseen side effects. Many legitimate healthcare calls have been blocked as carriers scramble to meet FCC regulations.
There is a conflict between the differences of legal and illegal robocalls. According to experts, call blocking will likely affect 10% of legitimate robocalls. Patients are, therefore, at risk of missing essential reminders such as prescriptions and physician appointments.
Hospitals are in the crossfire of the battle to end robocalls and call spoofing. Until regulations take full effect and carriers streamline their solutions, healthcare professionals will have to deal with calls not connecting properly due to unwarranted flags.
Are Carriers and FCC Provisions Fully Prepared to Combat Blow Backs of Robocalls and Call Spoofing?
The FCC’s provisions for carriers on robocalls hurts health facilities. The FCC voted to give carriers the power to block robocalls by default. This is a good move for consumers and a bad one for legitimate institutions such as hospitals.
Many hospitals view call blocking as a drawback and fear their legitimate calls are showing as scam likely. In such an event, a hospital might encounter injuries or even deaths. According to the Washington Post, physicians want the laws on robocalls revisited. Doctors and physicians from the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute decried the effect of such laws as many healthcare calls blocked affect patients.
How Can You Identify Call Spoofing
As a medical provider, you must protect your patients and maintain an excellent reputation for your facility. Scanning your numbers with Caller ID Reputation’s software can help identify if your business has been a victim of call spoofing. Finding flags early can help to improve your business’ reputation.