BOISE — St. Luke’s hospital officials are warning that scammers are calling area residents, posing either as representatives from the Internal Revenue Service or an insurance company, demanding personal information. The scammers are making it look like the calls are coming from St. Luke’s.
“They aggressively demand private information, sometimes claim to have a warrant, and threaten to arrest people if they don't provide it, saying police are already on the way,” according to St. Luke’s Health Systems spokesperson Anita Kissee.
“Many people across the Treasure Valley have reported receiving these alarming calls including St. Luke's patients, St. Luke's clinics and hospital rooms and employees. Suspicious of the foul language and threats, people have written down the caller ID numbers or call back number provided, which typically start with a 381 or 385 prefix. When they call the number back, it connects to legitimate St. Luke's departments, or clinic numbers that are rarely used,” she explained.
If you receive such a call -- especially one that seems suspicious, hang up and do not provide the caller with any information -- including name, bank information or credit card numbers. “Do not give in to their pressure tactics,” Kissee warned.
Boise Police and the Better Business Bureau are aware of the fake calls and are investigating.
Authorities remind you that:
•Legitimate agencies would not call individuals and “demand” money under any circumstances.
•Never give a credit, debit or prepaid cash card number over the phone. Individuals claiming to collect debts may try to instill fear in potential victims to persuade them to send money.
•Unlike a credit card, prepaid debit cards or gift cards are untraceable, and charges cannot be reversed. When the serial number of the card is given to the scammer, the victim is out the money.
•If you believe you may have a legitimate warrant for your arrest or unpaid traffic fine in Ada County, click here or call Ada County Records at 208-577-3000. Outside Ada County, look up and call your local law enforcement agency phone numbers so you know you're talking to a legitimate local public agency.
(photo courtesy: St. Luke’s/Anita Kissee)