Text message scam impersonates local hospitals

MONROE, Wis. (WMTV) -- A new text scam is making the rounds in Wisconsin, claiming friends or relatives are in the hospital and seriously ill. The message also provides a link to click on for updates.

NBC15 first brought you this story on Monday when Southwest Health alerted their patients to the scam.

On Tuesday, NBC15 heard the scam had found its way to hospitals in Reedsburg and Monroe as well.

Theresa Robertson of Monroe received a scam text. She said it took a few seconds for her to realize the message, which claimed to be from Monroe Clinic, was fake.

"It's another one of those kind of scary things that all of the different healthcare organizations around our area were being targeted, so that means, more people than just in Monroe," Robertson said.

The hospital said they never contact people by text message.

"We would only contact emergency contacts and we would do that with a personal phone call in an emergency situation," said Patricia Lawson, Monroe Clinic's Director of Community Relations.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), you should never click on links sent by someone you do not know or give out any personal information.

Other warning signs of a scam include being asked for money or being threatened.

"These types of things, these days I just automatically assume it's a scam," Robertson said.

Both Robertson and Monroe Clinic posted about the scam on Facebook.

"The more people that are being, trying to be scammed, the more likelihood that somebody's going to fall for it," Robertson said.

Both said they wanted to let people know about it as soon as possible.

"I wanted to alert as many people as I could to the scam because these things take off and they go quickly," Lawson said.

If you receive a scam text, email or phone call, you should contact your local law enforcement. You can also contact the DATCP at (800) 422-7128 or datcphotline@wi.gov.