MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — WVU Medicine is warning patients about a scammer who is pretending to be one of its employees in an attempt to get people’s Social Security numbers.
In a Twitter thread Wednesday, the healthcare system said the caller ID displayed the patient’s phone number, and the scammer told the patient he worked for WVU Medicine before asking for her name, address and Social Security number so that she could “receive a gold card from WVU Medicine”.
WVU Medicine emphasized it does not issue gold cards to patients.
The scammers are able to make their caller ID show up as their targets’ phone numbers through a process called caller ID spoofing. According to the Federal Communications Commission, scammers will make their phone number appear to be their victims’ number, or a similar “neighbor” number so that they are more likely to pick up the phone call.
To avoid spoofing, the FCC suggests you don’t pick up unknown numbers. It also said if phone calls ask you to hit a button to stop getting calls, you should just hang up, because scammers use this as a way to identify potential targets.
The FCC says you should never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information to unexpected callers, or if you are at all suspicious of the caller.
If you get a call from someone reporting to represent a company or a government agency, the FCC suggests you hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the legitimacy of the call.
The FCC’s website says it is requiring the phone industry to adopt a caller ID authentication system in response to the rise in spoofing.
Click here to report a spoofed phone call to the FCC.