Phone scammers are taking advantage of the health care community’s efforts to reach out and schedule vaccination appointments. There have been reports people are receiving calls from what looks like local phone numbers and the person on the line then starts to ask questions about the individual’s health care insurance coverage and potentially other personal data. Keith Morgan from Story County Emergency Management said, “It’s unfortunate, but not unexpected, that scammers are using something like the vaccination program as a ploy to get money or personal data from people. These scammers can make it appear they are calling from almost any phone number so everyone needs to be vigilant when receiving any phone call.”
In Story County, COVID vaccinations are being offered through a patient’s health care clinic or from a clinic where an individual has signed-up for a vaccination appointment. Anyone calling to coordinate a vaccination should immediately identify that they are calling from the patient’s clinic or a clinic they signed up to use for a vaccination. The clinic may ask for the individual’s date of birth as a part of their procedures to confirm that they are speaking to the patient in their records. If they ask for banking or credit card information or other unusual information hang up immediately.
Capt Nicholas Lennie from the Story County Sheriffs Office recommends, “If you are suspicious at all when you get a call about vaccinations, hang up and call your medical provider to confirm you were being contacted through the appropriate channels to get your vaccination. The few minutes that it might take to verify the phone call is legitimate may save hours and hours of work to re-establish your credit rating or keep you from losing money.”