Typically, on Valentine’s Day, you might expect a blog that has something to do with the heart. Instead, we’ll be talking about some heartless people who are running a phone scam by posing as employees with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to try to steal your personal information.
On Monday morning, February 13, 2017, the Arizona Department of Health Services began to receive an unusually large volume of calls indicating a telephone scam was in play. The agency’s phone provider has confirmed the department is the victim of a telephone scam.
The department reports people from nearly 40 states have called in to explain their caller ID shows the department’s telephone number with a person on the other end of the line asking for their personal information. The caller identifies themselves to be with an insurance company and asks for personal information on the individual’s health insurance.
According to KTAR News in Phoenix, “The department (ADHS) emphasized that it doesn’t contact residents for personal information, and those who receive a call asking for such info should hang up immediately.”
If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, contact the Arizona Attorney General’s office at 602-542-5763 or click here to file a consumer complaint online.
As an interesting side note – phone scams are making it difficult for some health departments to get the legitimate information they need to compile accurate health statistics. A recent report on HawaiiNewsNow.com ran the headline, “Phone scams creating barriers for health surveys.” Below is an excerpt from that report.
Each year, the Health Department needs to gather at least 6,500 interviews from local residents so the Centers for Disease Control can include Hawaii in its national health statistics.
But the department said phone scam fears are making residents reluctant to answer calls from people they don’t know.
Failure to hit the 6,500 target could drop Hawaii from the CDC’s national health surveys and that could affect millions in federal grants.
The story went on to say there are no questions in the survey about a person’s finances and respondents’ names aren’t even used. As we are now seeing here in Arizona, asking for personal information is often a tip-off that a call might be a scam. KVOA.com in Tucson reiterated (related to the Arizona phone scam), “The Arizona Department of Health Services does not contact residents to ask for personal information, according to the news release. If you receive a call from someone who claims to be with ADHS, you are encouraged to hang up immediately without giving any personal information to the caller.”
Let us know if you’ve heard about this new phone scam targeting people in your community. Making our friends and partners aware of ongoing phone scams and other important health news that affects the people of our state is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!