Phone scammers use CHI computer misfortunes as bait

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – CHI Health’s IT system remains shut down, following a nationwide ransomware attack on its parent company that affected countless patients and healthcare workers.

Now some scammers are using the information as an opportunity to prey on consumers.

It seems phone scammers are always looking for new ways to get you off the hook, and Collin Warren has answered.

“I had some medicine that I needed to pick up, so why not pick up that phone,” he said. “But you’re still thinking in the back of your head, should I?”

The caller claimed to be in collections for CHI Health.

Collin grew suspicious when she didn’t seem to know where she was calling, so he started recording the call.

“She goes ‘Omh…’, you leave some letters, honey,” Collin said. “The last resort of all [scam attempt] that’s when she told me that I owed money to a place where I had zeroed my account.

Scammers are using CHI Health’s highly publicized computer failure as a trap and the hospital is telling us not to bite. They sent us a statement making it clear that they have bigger concerns than appealing to collections.

Under certain circumstances, CHI Health may contact a patient by phone to confirm information about their care plan, such as insurance or scheduling information. We may request personal and financial information prior to a procedure in order to complete the registration process or when assisting patients to apply for financial assistance.

At this time, due to a ransomware attack, we are not contacting patients to resolve medical bills or request personal financial information.

Third-party collection agencies do not contact patients on behalf of CHI Health at this time.

If a patient receives a call that concerns them, we ask them to hang up and contact their doctor’s office.

Bellevue Police Department community relations coordinator Roger Cox agrees.

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying I’m going to hang up and call your billing office myself,” Cox said. “That’s exactly what I do every time, I could say, ‘thank you so much for your call, I’m just going to hang up now and call back the 800 number I have for you, and then we can discuss this when I’m making the call back.’”

Cox said that even if you don’t fall for the scam, law enforcement still encourages you to let them know by calling your local police department’s non-emergency number.

“Sometimes you call us and it’s something we’ve never heard of before,” Cox said. “We do our best to spread [on social media] what we hear, what are the latest scams, to warn people just to say, be careful.

Most of these patterns are not of local origin, Cox said, even though the caller ID can be read as a local number.

The Federal Trade Commission also encourages people to report phone scams, to keep their database as complete as possible. The FTC also has a program, Consumer Sentinel Network, which compiles data and offers collaborative resources with local law enforcement. But Cox said fraudulent crime is hard to beat.

“I mean the FTC, the feds have created an entire task force to try to find these people and put a stop to them, and even with all the resources they have, they’re still having a horrible time,” he said. said Cox. . “It just seems like it’s getting worse and worse, for every [scam call] you used to have, now you have 10.

Collin took to Facebook and told the social media world what happened, and shared the phone call with us. He wanted to make sure people took him seriously and didn’t fall victim to scammers fishing, or maybe you should call it phishing, during a medical crisis.

“People from Omaha or the metro using CHI, be careful, because [the phone scammers] now know they can try this, and it happened, I got it, today.

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