Public Awareness Notice
PINEHURST – Hospitals throughout the country are warning their patients about a phone scam in which callers posing as hospital officials attempt to obtain personal information.
If you receive a call from someone identifying him/herself as a representative of one of the FirstHealth of the Carolinas entities and telling you that your insurance benefits include special vitamins, weight-loss pills, oils or pain creams, do not provide any insurance or personal information.
No one from FirstHealth or its affiliated organizations is making these calls.
“We understand the anxiety this phone scam can cause,” says FirstHealth spokesperson Gretchen Kelly. “We want to assure our patients that their records are considered protected health information under federal and state law. FirstHealth has safeguards in place to maintain your confidential health record and protect your privacy.”
Because these calls are being placed all over the country, local officials do not believe that the phone scam is directly connected to FirstHealth’s protected health information.
The North Carolina State Attorney General’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement agencies have been notified of this issue and are taking appropriate action.
“We are paying very close attention to this issue in coordination with the North Carolina Hospital Association and state and federal agencies,” Kelly says. “If there is anything we can do to further assure anyone of the confidentiality of their hospital records, or if you believe you have been contacted by a scammer, call the State Attorney General’s Office at (919) 716-6000 or FirstHealth at (910) 715-1000.”
- If you have never been a patient at a FirstHealth location, or are not currently scheduled for a medical procedure, it is unlikely that you would be receiving a call from FirstHealth.
- If you are a FirstHealth patient and you are unsure as to why you would receive a call from FirstHealth, ask for the caller’s name, hospital department and a direct phone number to call them back.
- Treat all unsolicited phone calls with skepticism
- Never provide personal, medical or financial information on the phone unless you initiated the call to a reliable company that you know.
- If you receive a scam phone call, write down as much information as possible, - date/time of call/caller id shown and all other information
- Report this information to your local law enforcement authorities and/or to the State Attorney General Office, at (919) 716-6000
- If you believe you have been the victim of a phone scam, contact your local law enforcement authorities immediately.