April 15, 2022

How to protect yourself from healthcare scams

A phone screen indicating a call from an unknown caller

As our ability to communicate and interact with our patients is improved by new technologies, an unfortunate side effect is an increase in criminals targeting patients with phone or Internet scams.

Examples of such scams include:

  • Numerous reports of scammers claiming to be UW Health employees, contacting people by phone and asking about common health conditions, such as knee or back pain.

  • “Phishing” emails imitating UW Health branding, such as logos and colors, attempting to coax patients into giving out MyChart login credentials.

Scammers frequently target patients of health care systems for numerous reasons, including fraudulent Medicare claims.

Because of the increased threat these scams pose to patients, UW Health advises people to be extra vigilant when callers or emails request personal or financial information such as health history, Social Security or Medicare ID numbers, and payment information.

Even if a call appears to come from a trusted number, it’s still important to exercise caution. Some of the calls reported to UW Health suggest scammers may be using “spoofing” technology to show up on recipients’ caller ID as UW Health clinic phone numbers.

Don’t be a victim of spoofing: If at any point you become suspicious of a call, hang up immediately and call your clinic directly to ensure UW Health was in fact trying to reach you.

If you are suspicious of an email claiming to be from UW Health, do not respond to any requests included in the email and call UW Health to verify its authenticity.

How to tell a scam from a legitimate UW Health contact

Scams and fraud hurt everyone. Know this about UW Health when we contact you:

  • We do not participate in lotteries or promotions offering monetary prizes or gift cards.

  • We will not contact patients by phone to demand emergency payment of an insurance premium for a policy that is about to lapse or to pay a bill. We might call to offer account resolution options such as a payment plan or financial assistance.

  • We will not get agitated or threaten a customer if a payment is needed.

  • Our patients might occasionally receive a call, text or email for pre-registration or patient satisfaction surveys. If you are suspicious, gather any information if possible, hang up and call the UW Health hospital or clinic you visited or plan to visit.

  • We use regular billing periods and regularly scheduled premium notices to notify customers of any amounts they owe.

  • If the UW Health name or logos are used in a communication and you are suspicious, call the UW Health facility you visit to help determine what you received is authentic.

  • UW Health works with small number of third-party vendors who occasionally contact patients. If you are suspicious of a call from another company about your care at UW Health, hang up and call UW Health to verify we do business with them.

  • We might send overdue accounts to a collection agency who could call to assist with your payment. If you are suspicious, hang up and call UW Health.

If you provided financial or account information to a suspected scam artist, contact your bank, credit card company and credit monitoring services to report possible fraud, and carefully monitor any affected accounts for suspicious activity.

You can help stamp out scams

If you believe you have received a scam call or email from someone claiming to represent UW Health, please consider contacting us about it. Information about scams can be used to help authorities track down criminals and help healthcare systems protect their patients.