Phone spoof targets local cancer patient


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — There’s a new phone spoof going around that’s targeting local cancer patients.

Marilyn Hechtkopf is between cancer treatment appointments, so she was quite surprised to see Virginia Oncology Associates pop up on her caller ID.

“I thought ‘oh my gosh, what do they want? Did they find something new? What’s my problem?'”

Hechtkopf picked up the call and immediately realized something was wrong, just not what she first imagined. “There was a voice recording that said because of your payment history, your excellent payment history, we are pleased to offer you a new credit card and at that point I hung up.”

Then she called Virginia Oncology to alert them.

Virginia Beach police confirm she did exactly the right thing. 

“What we really advise is just go ahead and hang up,” said Officer Tonya Pierce. She also suggests clicking on the caller ID and then blocking the number immediately.

“It’s difficult, I probably have more blocked calls in my cell phone than contacts.”

Also, she advises you never press one … or any number to respond on an unsolicited robocall because, “now they’ve got your number, it’s tagged it, the number is probably being sold to other telemarketers  or blacklists so you might receive more telephone calls.”  

Luckily Hectkopf had her wits about her, she just worries for other patients who — with all they are going through – might not be in the right state of mind when the phone rings.

“I think its a low blow for them to use a medical practice as a way to get people to answer the phone.”  she said.

Police also want to remind you to never send money, money orders, green cards or gift cards to anyone and always report suspicious calls to police.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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