OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Health Care Authority wants to warn SoonerCare members of a new scam that asks for personal information and money over the phone.
What makes the scam hard to identify, is the number has been spoofed looking like it’s coming from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority’s phone number. Officials say unfortunately some are falling for it.
“It’s very, very disappointing that someone would take advantage of a group that as a State, we’re trying to be extremely responsive to their situation because they are most vulnerable, and we’ve got a million plus individuals that represent our vulnerable population. This is not the audience or the target to take advantage of,” said Kevin Corbett, CEO of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.
SoonerCare members are in need of help, and now the target of a new scam.
The scammers are asking for personal information and for payment for SoonerCare which is a free medical service.
“We never ask for payment ever. So, if that ever comes into the conversation, you know, a trigger should go off saying this is not likely valid and probably just hang up,” said Corbett.
The scam comes in as a phone call, text or link fishing for personal information like birth dates or social security numbers. In some cases, there is even a threat of being arrested if they don’t pay.
“Be extremely cautious if your site if anybody’s calling you from the Health Care Authority. You need to probably hang up and call back and ask why we’re calling. And if we don’t have a record of making a call, it wasn’t us.” said Corbett.
The AG’s office told KFOR 4 quote, “We are looking into this and want to remind people to beware of calls from anyone claiming to represent a government agency and asking for personal information or money. If fraudulent activity is suspected, immediately hang up and do not provide any information,” said Leslie Berger, Press Secretary for the Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General.
The Oklahoma Healthcare Authority says it will only ask for personal information if the member has requested a callback.
“For the most part, we make we don’t make that many outbound calls. We take a lot of calls, and we respond to members, anyone calling in. We have a security check, an identity check that we do before we ever engage in a conversation,” said Corbett.
The Oklahoma Healthcare Authority tells us they are working with federal partners on an investigation into the scam.
If you get a call that seems suspicious, hang up and call the SoonerCare helpline at (800)987-7767 to confirm before giving information.
HealthCare.gov says quote, “The Marketplace, assister organizations, and your state Medicaid agency will never threaten you or anyone in your household or ask for your credit card information or payment so you can keep or qualify for health coverage.”