While CHI system still remain down due to national ransomware attack, scammers using the news to scam more people
OMAHA, Nebraska – As a result of a worldwide ransomware attack on its parent firm, CHI Health’s computer system remains offline, affecting numerous patients and healthcare personnel.
Now, some con artists are exploiting the news to prey on consumers.
Collin Warren got a call from a fraudster who, it appears, is continually looking for new ways to persuade you to pick up the phone.
“I needed to pick up some prescription, so why not pick up the phone?” he asked. “However, you constantly ask yourself, ‘Should I?'”
The caller claimed to be from CHI Health’s collections department.
Collin began recording the call after becoming suspicious that she did not appear to know to whom she was placing the call.
“She says ‘O-m-h…’, You’re missing a few letters, honey,” Collin remarked. “The final resort of the entire [scam attempt] was when she informed me that I owed money to a business where I had closed my account.”
Scammers are using the well-publicized computer outage at CHI Health as bait, and the hospital warns us not to bite. They gave us a statement indicating that they have more pressing concerns than collection calls.
In certain instances, CHI Health may call a patient to check information about their care plan, such as insurance or appointment details. Prior to a procedure, we may need personal and financial information to complete the registration process or to aid patients in applying for financial assistance.
Due to a ransomware assault, we are not contacting patients to resolve medical debts or request personal financial information at this time.
At this time, no third-party collection agencies are contacting patients on behalf of CHI Health.
If a patient receives a call that causes them concern, we ask that they hang up and inform the office of their physician.
Roger Cox, the community relations coordinator for the Bellevue Police Department, concurs.
Cox stated, “There is absolutely nothing wrong with stating I’m going to hang up and call your billing office myself.” “That is precisely what I do every time; I might say, ‘Thank you for your call; I’m going to hang up now and call the 800 number I have for you; we can discuss this when I call you back’.”
Cox stated that even if you do not fall for the scam, law enforcement encourages you to report it by contacting the non-emergency number of your local police department.
“Sometimes when you call, it’s something we’ve never encountered before,” Cox added. “We do our best to disseminate [on social media] what we learn about the most recent frauds in order to warn people to be cautious.”
Cox stated that the majority of these scams do not originate locally, despite the appearance of a local number on Caller ID.
The Federal Trade Commission also encourages individuals to report phone fraud in order to maintain a comprehensive database. Consumer Sentinel Network is an additional FTC program that compiles data and offers collaboration tools with local law enforcement. However, Cox stated that fraudulent criminality is difficult to combat.
Cox stated, “I mean the FTC, the federal government has an entire task force attempting to track down these individuals and put a stop to it, and even with all of their resources, they’re having a terrible time.” “It seems to be growing steadily worse; for every [scam call] you used to receive, you now receive ten.”
Collin posted on Facebook and shared the phone call with the social media community what had transpired. During a medical emergency, he wanted to ensure that no one falls prey to con artists fishing, or perhaps it should be termed phishing.
“Be careful, CHI users in Omaha or the metropolitan area, because [the phone fraudsters] now know they may do this, as it did to me today.”
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