cvs pharmacy

Watch Out for Calls Claiming You Owe Money for Prescriptions

NBC 7 Responds says some San Diegans are being contacted about false claims that people need to send money for prescription drugs

NBC Universal, Inc.

Criminals are continually looking for ways to try to steal your money, and in one recent ploy, some San Diegans have received calls claiming to be from their pharmacy asking for money to fill a prescription.

"I called my CVS in La Mesam and they said I was the second one to call today," said Juanita Thomas, who received a voicemail.

Thomas said she has prescriptions filled at CVS, so it wasn't unusual for her to get calls from the pharmacy. This voicemail was different from the others she was used to hearing.

"They have a very distinct machine that says your prescription is ready," Thomas said. "This is nothing like that."

The voicemail said Thomas had a bill for nearly $250 that needed to be charged and that she should call the helpline to complete the charge. Thomas, who was suspicious because of the amount, started asking questions when she called the number.

"I don't have a prescription for that amount of money," Thomas said. "I asked, 'Which CVS is this?' and he said, 'Los Angeles.' "

The man on the other end immediately hung up when Thomas asked which street the pharmacy was located on. That's when she researched the number she was told to call.

"There's an actual CVS helpline online, but that's not the number that they gave me," Thomas said.

Thomas also called her bank to make sure she hadn't been charged by CVS for that amount, just in case.

"I checked twice on Monday and then I checked again Thursday for any extra charges on my card, and it didn't show up," Thomas said. "People should call their own pharmacy first and don't give out any information. Ask them for information first."

Thomas' experience is a good example of what to do if you think something sounds suspicious: Call the pharmacy directly instead of using the number left in the voicemail, then ask to confirm some information to try and verify you are actually talking with the business and not someone trying to steal your money.

If you think you've been targeted, file a complaint with the California Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission. CVS has a list of common scams to watch out for on its website where you can find out what to do if you think someone is impersonating the pharmacy.

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