Call offering health care gifts is a scam, state officials warn
State health officials are warning the public about a con artist posing as a state health employee and making phone calls offering gifts and incentives for health care services.
The Department of Health does not offer free gifts or promotions over the phone and does not have offices outside of the state.
"Do not under any circumstances provide your personal information to anyone unless you know the person with whom you are dealing," spokeswoman Janice Okubo said in a news release. "Just because someone says they are from a government agency does not mean it's true."
Skeptical residents alerted state health officials to the phone scam.
The following are some tips provided by the state Health Department to protect yourself from phone solicitation:
» Do not be pressured to make an immediate decision.
» Do not give your credit card, checking account or Social Security number to unknown callers.
» Be cautious of claims that you have won a prize, especially if the caller says you must send money to claim it.
» Do not agree to any offer that requires you to pay a registration or shipping fee to receive a prize.
» Get all information in writing before you agree to purchases.
» Do research on a charity before donating to an organization. Ask how much of your donation goes to the charity and for written information to be sent to you so you can make an informed decision.
» If the offer is an investment, check with your state securities regulator to see if it's properly registered.
» Do not send cash by messenger or overnight mail. If you use cash rather than a credit card in the transaction, you may lose your right to dispute fraudulent charges.
» Check out unsolicited offers with the Better Business Bureau or the State's Office of Consumer Protection before you agree to send money.
» Beware of offers to help you recover money you may have lost previously. Be wary of callers saying they are law enforcement officers who will help you get your money back "for a fee."
» Put your telephone number on the Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236) from the telephone number you want put on the registry or go to www.donotcall.gov.
» Anyone who suspects a scam has been attempted may call the State's Office of Consumer Protection at 587-3222.