Officials warn Montanans about phone spoofing


Officials warn Montanans on phone spoofing

MISSOULA, Mont. - Bozeman Deaconess Health Services is warning the public,that scammers have hijacked their phone number with a 414 prefix.

The number may pop up on your phone, but in many recent incidents it's been scammers calling, not the hospital at all. 

When NBC Montana found out that scammers are getting sophisticated enough to disguise their call with a Montana number that may look familiar to you, we reached out to our state's attorney general's office.

Assistant Attorney General Chuck Munson told us the office has been receiving a lot of calls about this high-tech scheme.  Munson says no formal investigation is underway, but the office is warning the public to watch out for these hijacked numbers.

"Just don't give out personal information to entities that call you when you didn't contact them first," said Munson.

Callers might ask for your Social Security number, credit card number, birthday and sometimes mother's maiden name.

Experts warn the more you pick up the calls the more frequently you'll receive them. Bottom line, it's best to not answer them.

When we asked locals about answering calls, people have varying phone habits.

"I look at my phone sometimes and see that someone called me; I normally don't call them back but whenever I do get a call, I answer it," said Sam Orr.

"I do. It could be somebody I hung out with the day before, like I don't remember," said Frederick Olson.

Drew Larson does not answer calls from any unfamiliar numbers.

"I like to go into a conversation prepared; if they leave me a message then I know what I am going to be talking about afterwards," explained Larson.

There are apps you can download to screen calls.

"Keep up-to-date with the technology. There are services out there that can help people screen and block and report these annoying and harassing calls," explained Munson.

The biggest warning from the attorney general's office is if you do answer a phone call from an unknown number don't give out any personal information.

Despite scammers unlawfully using Bozeman Deaconess's number, the medical center does contact patients with legitimate calls.  Managers say if you are unsure, you can ask the medical worker's name and number and call back.

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