The fake text messages impersonate the hospital and refer to the recipient by name, then ask for a call back about a hospitalized neighbor, relative or colleague. The texts have conspicuous spelling and grammatical errors.
Monroe Clinic shared one scam text that stated, "Crystal This is Monroe hospital texting. Your neighbour is with us now. Condition was unknown. You please ring us here" and then provided a weblink, not a phone number.
Southwest Health in Platteville shared a similar scam text on Facebook: "Paul This is Platteville hospital messaging. Your relatives is with us now. Condition is worrying. You should call us asap."
Upland Hills Health in Dodgeville reported scam texts this week, too.
The texts should be deleted and reported.
"We do not text customers or patients and certainly would not contact anyone about their neighbor's health," Monroe Clinic posted to its Facebook page. "Do not click on any links or phone numbers. Delete. Delete. Delete."
Text recipients "can also help stop the spread of this scam by notifying their local sheriff department," Patricia Lawson, director of marketing at Monroe Clinic, wrote in a followup email.
On Wednesday, Green County Sheriff Jeff Skatrud said his agency is aware of the scam texts but hadn't yet received complaints about it.
"We are watching out for it," he said.
Michelle Reinen, a director for the Wisconsin Bureau of Consumer Protection, told 27 News in Madison this week that anyone receiving the message should not respond or click the link. Engaging with the message may trigger malware being loaded onto the phone or alert the sender that the phone number is active. Instead, she recommends taking a screenshot, reporting the message and then deleting it.