Even though I usually try not to answer when calls come in from an unknown number, I answered this time. Caller ID showed a local number. And at first when the caller started talking about my medication I fell for it.
“I’m calling to update the information on your prescriptions,” the caller said. “If we don’t update our system today, you’ll have to get your Doctor to call in.” Even though I deal with scams targeting Senior Citizens every day, I still didn’t realize that the caller wasn’t calling from my local drug store.
But I started wondering when he asked me to verify my identity by telling him the name of the most recent medication I had picked up. “Why don’t you know that?” I asked.
The caller said that I had to tell him so he’d know I was really me. That sounded just a little bit suspicious. So I asked “are you calling from the pharmacy on 7th Street?”
He answered “please read me the numbers at the top of your prescription label.”
So I asked again “what pharmacy are you calling from?”
The man on the phone raised his voice, “If you don’t give me the information to update our system, your Doctor will need to write all new prescriptions, That may keep you from getting the medicine you need.”
Now I knew it was a scam. One of the biggest tools scammers use is creating false urgency. Besides why would my pharmacist get angry just because I had a few questions?
I ended up keeping the scammer on the phone for a few more minutes answering my questions before he finally hung up. I figured that any time he wasted on the phone with me, he wasn’t calling other senior citizens.
When you get a call like that, I urge you to hang up right away. You don’t want to give the seamster any information by mistake.
To learn more about Neighbor Spoofing, check out this article by Ailsa Chang at National Public Radio. Or to try to block those calls altogether, check out the app called robokiller. Full disclosure, I haven’t tried robokiller yet. And, no, they aren’t compensating The Seniors Center or me for this referral.