Hospice of Dubuque warns people of phone scam

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Some people in Dubuque have received a phone call in which a local hospice asks for money, showing up with an identical number as the Hospice of Dubuque.

The Hospice of Dubuque is warning people of a phone scam asking for money, which shows up with their number. (Aaron Scheinblum, KCRG)

The Hospice of Dubuque say the phone call is not coming from them- it is a scam.

Tiffany Stietz, who serves as Community Relations Facilitator for Hospice of Dubuque, said they do not want to concern people who work with them, so they have felt the need to be proactive since they were first alerted Wednesday.

Stietz said once she first learned of the phone scam, it made her feel sick.

"This just had that 'ick' factor like, this is not us," Stietz said.

Someone said they received a phone call from the caregivers, receiving a phone message asking for payment. Hospice of Dubuque says they do not make solicitation calls, and Stietz echoed that.

It was a scammer looking for money, using what's called "spoofing-" when you take a person or company's phone number, and make calls disguised as them.

Hospice of Dubuque is far from the only company that has dealt with spoofing. Just this year, at least three other entities have had their numbers copied.

As we discussed in a story from Johnson County, scammers will use an unused number and put a "mask" on it- so it looks like a company like MidAmerican Energy or in this instance, Hospice of Dubuque.

Stietz said the best thing they can do now, is keep people aware- so no one gets fooled.

"We sure hope this doesn't happen and that's why we're trying to get out there in front of it," Stietz said. "Put it all over, have people spread the word. The best thing is just to get in front of it so it doesn't happen."

Experts say if you get a phone message asking for money, the best thing you can do is not respond.

The Hospice of Dubuque says they hope this is an isolated incident, but will continue to stay vigilant if it happens again. If you receive a similar phone call, you should not give the caller any information.