PMC warns patients, community of spoofing

Teddy Paynter

PIKEVILLE — Pikeville Medical Center officials are warning patients and the community of a phone scam that is requesting personal information.

“When these calls are being placed it is showing up on the phone ID as PMC,” Information Security Officer Steve Endicott said. “I’ve received three or four calls reporting that individuals are asking for credit card information.”

Chief Information Officer Tony Damron said the technique is called “spoofing,” which is a part of phishing.

“This occurs when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity,” Damron explained.

Endicott added that PMC would never ask for any personal information over the phone and if you do receive a call from individuals to simply hang up.

“It’s something that is becoming more common,” Endicott said. “We’ve had vendor calling here trying to sell us software that shows up as a local number and the individual is actually in California.”

Damron stressed that spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally.

“We can’t say it enough, but never, ever give out personal information over the phone,” Damron said. “PMC doesn’t operate that way and please don’t fall victim to this scam.”

U.S. law and FCC rules prohibit most types of spoofing.

Here are a number of tips to follow:

•Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden name, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious. 

•If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request.

•Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.

•If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it.  Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number.  A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.

Caller ID was made possible to let individuals avoid unwanted phone calls by displaying caller names and phone numbers.”

“It is sometimes manipulated by spoofers who identify themselves as banks, creditors, hospital officials or others. I can’t stress enough to never give your information out.”