Letter: PSA on scams, one by phone and another by email

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I’d like to make your readers aware of two scams, one via email and the other by phone.

I have received already three notices from people I’ve never heard of, confirming my purchase. There’s also a PDF attachment with an official-looking alleged order number. Cyber crooks count on human curiosity and hope someone will reply to stop the order or open the attachment for more details. Don’t do it! I am not a computer wiz, but I know this will somehow open the door for the criminals. There can also be some unusual/improper spelling. Delete unread. To be on the safe side, I called my bank and credit union to see if anyone had attempted to access accounts electronically. Check balances frequently to catch a fraudulent transaction quickly!

Second scam: Someone will call, pretending to be from a medical center (without specifying which one) or laboratory, and ask for personal info to “update the patient profile.” Questions like name of primary care provider, date of last visit and so on. Ironically, I had just been discharged a week earlier from the hospital, they have all my updated information! There were immediately red flags: The caller didn’t know which was my first or last name, rattled off a wrong address, maybe on purpose so I would correct him, and was basically unprofessional. He had my correct date of birth, though. I guess the criminals will attempt to file fraudulent insurance claims and pocket the reimbursements by pretending to be a doctor’s office. This might not get detected when the doctor and patient’s names are correct, obtained from the scam victim. Especially the elderly who have frequent office visits might be the target here. They trust a health care provider.

To sum it up: Delete emails from unknown sources, don’t click on their links/attachments, and never, ever give out personal info over the phone. Be alert! These are unfortunately the times we are living in.

I hope this is helpful.

Best regards,

Inga Norden

Richmond