Seymour Health’s main reception phone number for its Barrabill House aged care facility was hacked and used in a scam.
The health organisation advised families of residents at Barrabill House of the issue on Thursday.
Reception administration staff had been fielding several calls from people stating they had received calls from the number (03) 5793 6170, trying to sell them internet subscriptions.
One reported that they had received at least five scam calls from the number.
Seymour Health first became aware of the hack on Tuesday, July 27. The hospital’s information technology provider has since informed staff the technology being used is Calling Line Identification, CLI, overstamping.
CLI overstamping allows the person calling to display a different number from the number they are calling from.
Anyone with the technology in Australia or overseas can overstamp any phone number on their calls. The IT provider told the hospital that if the calls were made into Seymour Health then the provider could block them, but as they originated externally and were being made to the general public, it had no control over them and no ability to stop them.
Director of clinical services Anne Daley said they had reported the matter to Victoria Police, but there was little the hospital’s staff could do to rectify the matter.
“It is very disappointing that this has occurred, particularly during the pandemic, as it has created stress and additional work for our staff whose main priority should be our residents,” Ms Daley said.
The hospital has been advised to lodge complaints with www.cyber.gov.au and www.scamwatch.gov.au, and anyone who has received a scam call can do so as well.
While the matter is investigated, Seymour Health advises people to be aware that any calls from (03) 5793 6170 are not currently from Barrabill House.
“We apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused, but the situation is regrettably outside of our control,” Ms Daley said.
People can reach the hospital on (03) 5793 6100.