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Stay Safe From Phishing Scams


This blog post about email phishing and phone scams is guest written by Lester Hsu, CenterLight’s IT Information Security Administrator. He offers tips on how to detect and avoid these scams.

Unfortunately, the elderly are especially prone to predatory email phishing and phone scams. Usually the spammer will ask the elderly for their money or personal information while pretending to be a trusted entity or someone they know. Below I’ve put together a guide on how to recognize these scams, and recommendations on how to protect yourself and your personal information.

What is Phishing?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, phishing is “a type of online scam that targets consumers by sending them an e-mail that appears to be from a well-known source – an internet service provider, a bank, or a mortgage company, for example. It asks the consumer to provide personal identifying information. Then a scammer uses the information to open new accounts, or invade the consumer’s existing accounts.”
email phishing

A Scammer Usually Requests

FINANCIAL information, such as:

  • Bank account

  • Credit card

  • Wire transfers


Emails that seem to be from financial institutions like a bank, loan or credit card company have the real institutions masthead and logo, but have a different email address.

MEDICAL or PERSONAL information, such as:

  • Insurance

  • Medicare number

  • Medicaid number

  • SSN


The sender of an email or caller may claim that your social security number (SSN) will be suspended (SSNs do not get suspended) or will claim to be the IRS (the IRS would not contact you in this way).

Claim a PRIZE, such as:

  • Sweepstakes

  • Contests

  • Charity

  • Health products

  • Prescription drugs discount


An email claiming you’ve won a tropical cruise but have to act now, or a phone call asking for your credit card information to access discount prescriptions. If it feels too good to be true, it probably is.

Computer DOWNLOADS, such as:

  • Anti-virus software

  • Discount code for a company you don’t use


A pop up asks you to give personal information to download a software or code.

Infographic on how to recognize unsafe emails/phishing

Red Flags:

  • The email or web address seems slightly off (such as extra numbers or weird phrasing), is poorly written, or comes off as robotic

  • There is an attachment you did not know was coming

  • The phone caller withholds information about themselves or wants you to take action immediately

We Recommend:

  • Be suspicious –- Be generally suspicious of unsolicited calls, letters, and emails.

  • Ask questions –- Is this a person you know? Ask questions that only they would know to confirm their identity and sift out scammers.

  • Don’t give personal information online— Never enter personal information from the links received in a questionable email.

  • Do not call phone numbers listed in emails — Only call phone numbers you recognize, such as those listed on your paper statements or on the back of your bank cards. The institution can confirm if the message is from them, and route your call to the appropriate department that can assist.

  • Don’t pay to play –- Don’t provide money to get a prize.

  • Take a moment to think — Never hand over money by the call or the email.

And lastly, when in doubt hang up or close out—if a credible institution is trying to contact you, they will find another way!

CenterLight Teamcare is committed to providing accurate health-related information to help individuals live well, stay healthy and make well-informed healthcare and health-related decisions. Information in this material is strictly educational. For information about our program, please call: 1-877-212-8877 (TTY 711), 8AM - 8PM, Monday - Friday. Representatives or message service also available on weekends.

If you have questions, please call us at 1-877-212-8877, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. TTY users should call 711. You may also request a callback from one of our representatives by completing the form below:
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H3329_2019_BLOGPhishingScams Approved 06042019
Pending CMS and DOH approval
Last updated May 21, 2019