We have heard reports that scammers are calling residences in our region, sometimes using technology that tricks caller ID systems into displaying NMC’s name or number. Some are reportedly identifying themselves as being from NMC and asking or pressuring those who answer into giving sensitive identity or financial information. While this is not completely unusual in today’s world, it is not something to be quickly dismissed as a simple annoyance. These are likely criminals in action and it helps if these types of scams are reported – as they can do real damage.
Dennis Boucher, NMC’s Information Systems Operations Manager, shared that “These scams are happening regularly, and vary in form in nearly every instance. Unfortunately, caller ID has almost become worthless as ‘spoofed’ 802 numbers are very prevalent in solicitations and scams. Consumers should report these so the Attorney General and police can see trends and make public alerts if a particular area or company becomes a ‘target’.”
To report a suspected phone scam to the Vermont Attorney General’s office, please call the Attorney General Consumer Assistance number, (800) 649-2424. The Attorney General’s website (https://ago.vermont.gov/cap/stopping-scams/) allows individuals to sign up for scam alerts and says, “Scams and fraud cost Vermonters hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. Scammers use every tool available to steal money and information from consumers. Since most scams originate overseas and use sophisticated technology, we can’t stop them with traditional law enforcement means alone.” Here’s what that website recommends: “If you or someone you know are being targeted by scammers, take action to prevent loss. There are a few simple steps you can take. Hang up! Scammers will try to keep you on the phone. The best way to avoid getting scammed is to hang up the phone … Call us! (Use the Attorney General’s assistance line at 800 649-2424) Whether you need help for yourself or someone else, we want to talk with you. If it is outside of our normal business hours, you can send us an e-mail or leave a voice message. Stop payment! If money has been sent (by wire transfer, mail, gift card, or any other means), contact the bank or institution you sent it through right away to stop the money before it is picked up. Usually the funds are picked up quickly by scammers, but it’s worth trying!” Sign up for scam alerts: https://ago.vermont.gov/consumer-assistant-program-scam-alerts/
Naturally, as a patient of NMC, you may receive calls from staff of the hospital to remind you of appointments or pre-register you for procedures, etc. If you are ever uncertain of a caller’s legitimacy, please ask for the caller’s name and department and the purpose of their call. Write that down and let the caller know you will get back to them and hang up. Then, call NMC’s main line at (802) 524-5911 and ask to be connected to that person in that department. If you get a call about your account and question the legitimacy of the call, please let the caller know that, hang up, and call NMC’s Patient Financial Services team at (802) 524-1048.
Cyber crimes such as telephone scams and identity theft are real concerns. Please be aware and ever vigilant. Report suspected scams to the Vermont Attorney General’s office and if you do wonder if NMC is legitimately trying to reach you, just give us a call so you are sure it is us.
— Jill Berry Bowen, RN, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer