Medical Phone Scams
Mobile phones in the 21st century have become the most vital source of communication. Further, along with the advent of the internet and social media, level of engagement one has with peers and strangers has grown to unprecedented levels. However, one major consequence arising from this is that it has become a hotspot globally for scammers, fraudsters, cybercriminals and, so on and so forth. Phone scamming has become very diverse, and most recently not even the activities regarding health care has been left untouched. The most affected age groups for such scams are the elderly people. The following paragraphs are guides to how medical phone scamming works, what are the risks associated with it and how can one protect themselves from it.
How the Medical Phone Scam Work
Insurance and Coverage
Many people are continuously bombarded with phone calls or text messages from individuals claiming to be from their local medical care centers. These individuals question about the continuation of their ‘annual coverage’ plans. At other times these scammers try offering drugs at a discounted rate, once the common person agrees to the deal. They ask for credit card details and their insurance numbers. At various occasions, scammers have even pretended to be government officials gathering data for the government-sponsored health insurance schemes. As a result, with access to the personal and banking data, these scammers end up withdrawing money from the bank accounts. Read more about this here.
Counterfeit prescription drugs
Elderly people often pounce on the opportunity of getting their prescription drugs at a cheaper price. Scammers run an advertisement on calls and text messages for various counterfeit drugs. Elderly people often end up buying these products by using their credit cards, henceforth giving away their personal data and end up buying the products which do more harm than good. You can further read about scams regarding the elderly here
Anti-Aging and Synthetic Drugs
Same as described for the prescription drugs, scammers advertise anti-aging products and drugs like Viagra and others for the purpose of sexual enhancement. These scammers advertise with bogus scientific research and how credible third parties have positively reviewed these products. The age group above 50 years old mostly falls prey to this tactic and the same cycle repeats over.
To check whether the text messages or calls are from genuine sources, you can check the number on various online directories such as checkup.tel.
How to Stay Safe from Scammers?
The following tips can help you avoid situations and any financial harm
- Never give any of your personal information (address, bank info, ID card number) straight away on a phone call or via text messages.
- Advise the elderly in your family to ask the callers they’ll call them back. This way a scammer would usually scare away. Provide them with insurance help lines and relevant government agency contact information so that they can verify if it’s real or not.
- Ask the caller for more details, tell them you’ll contact, do your homework and then call back.
- Keep a check on your banking transactions through your bank statements.
- Advise your elderly family members and friends to buy medication over the counter from respected and licensed pharmacy stores or reputable online retailers.