Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and Director of Health, Michael Fine, MD, are warning the public of a possible scam in which individuals, primarily women, are being called by a "medical compensation company" or "the state department of health" asking about recent surgeries and other personal information.
The targets of the calls appear primarily to be women, some, but not all of whom, may have had a recent surgery. Based on the information provided to the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) by individuals who have been contacted, the caller will often hang up when asked why they are calling, and the caller refuses to provide an official company name or contact information, two red flags that lend belief that this is a scam and not a legitimate phone call.
The phone calls that have been reported to HEALTH and the Attorney General's Office appear to originate from a 201 area code in New Jersey, although the phone number is not in service when the phone number is dialed. This is another red flag it is a scam and may not be based in the United States at all.
"My office regularly educates consumers on how to identify scams, how to avoid being scammed, and to alert the appropriate authorities when contacted by a scam artist. The many phone calls from concerned consumers made to my office and HEALTH help us inform all consumers of the possible scam," said Attorney General Kilmartin.
"The Health Department regularly conducts telephone surveys to help us track our progress in promoting healthy behaviors, such as eliminating smoking, reducing binge drinking, getting kids vaccinated, and promoting healthy weight and physical activity," said Director of Health, Michael Fine, MD. "However, our surveys are always anonymous and we never collect information that would identify you or others in your household."
It appears Rhode Island consumers are not the only group being targeted. New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster has also received multiple phone calls from consumers who report a similar scam.
If you receive such a call, do not provide the caller with any personal information such as your address, date of birth, social security number, any banking or credit card information, health insurance or Medicaid numbers, or any health-related information. Simply hang up. You may report the calls by contacting the Office of Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit at 401-274-4400 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.