Blog / Is that the Doctor on the Line? – SCAMS Move into the Medical Field.
Well, it’s been a while since I’ve penned an article for our weekly newsletter. The fall is a busy time for us, as we prepare budget quotes for many of our municipal clients. This year is more intense, as many are preparing for the retirement of Windows 7 on January 14, 2020 and there is a lot of planning to do. You do remember that Windows 7 End-Of-Life is in January, don’t you?
I recently had a small medical incident that prevents me from driving for 3 months. I’m totally fine and all tests have come back negative, but government rules being government rules, my wife is having to chauffeur me around for the rest of the year. Thus, while I used to go home for lunch and then back to the office, I now spend mornings in the office and afternoons working from my home office.
Which leads me to an observation: The phone rings a lot at home – and it’s not from anyone we know. The number of SCAM phone calls for the 1/2 day I’m at home can easily be 3 or 4 in an afternoon or early evening. Like most people, we have Call Display, so we can weed-out the obvious ones. The favourite topic is something to do with one of my credit cards. There’s always a bogus charge posted at 5:00 am to my account, and the CC company is phoning to help us out.
Bah, it’s all a hoax, so we ignore them – unless we want to be amused, in which case we’ll listen for a few minutes.
But one call caught my attention earlier this week. My wife answered it. It was from a “Medical Clinic“, so naturally we were more interested, just having been to Emergency at the hospital. The caller went on to say that they had a gift for us, because we helped them out with a survey in the spring. The call was identified as coming from a clinic in BC.
No, No, NO! Never was at a clinic in the spring, never filled out a survey, never went to BC in the spring. My wife hung up before the caller went any further.
The medical hook is a very good one, especially for seniors or the infirm. Personally, we’re not at the stage where senior-moments are a constant way of life. But we have friends and relatives who are, and I can easily see one of them falling prey to a medical scam.
So, it’s not hard to imagine that our Emails and text messages will start to see medical scams within the near future, especially as our clinic operations and medical systems move further online. Prescriptions, in-home tests, and medical aids are all moving into the digital world, to be ordered and delivered by the post office or courier. This is a market ripe for the scam artists.
It strikes right at the heart of a major concern for most people; young or old. For most of us, our medical records are at the very centre of our most personal and private information – and the thought of it in the hands of a scammer looking for a bitcoin payoff is not pleasant.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t hold – or have access to – the vast array of medical data in our personal profile. It’s left to clinics, hospitals, doctors, pharmacists, and the rest of the Healthcare system to be custodians of this sacred trust. To be sure, they have robust systems and safeguards in place – but nothing is bulletproof.
For our part, we can be suspicious of anyone offering unsolicited medical advice, information, or gifts. Just like with your banking information, you never give medical data out over the phone, unless you have initiated the call. Same goes for Email, texts, Facebook, and other Social Media platforms. When it comes to medical information, Doctors don’t do Email, so neither should you.
And for the record, I am looking forward to driving again!