Health Department warns of Poison Help Hotline scam

The Health Department on Thursday, February 15 issued a warning to all New Yorkers about unsolicited calls coming from individuals claiming to be from the National Poison Help Hotline.

These calls, which have targeted both patients and healthcare providers nationwide, have solicited payments and requested personal information from victims, many of whom are elderly.

“We join Poison Control Centers nationwide in warning the public about these unsolicited calls that have the potential to cause real harm to residents,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “New Yorkers should know that neither the New York City Poison Control Center, nor the National Poison Help Hotline will ever ask for personal information or payment via phone calls.”

To date, the New York City Poison Control Center has received more than 50 calls from victims claiming to have received one of these scam calls (in some instances, the caller has identified himself as “Justin”). It is one of 13 poison centers in the country, so far, to receive these calls.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers has filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission and is also working with major telephone companies like Verizon and AT&T on their investigation.

Any New Yorker who receives a suspicious call of this kind should immediately contact the National Poison Help Hotline at 800-222-1222, said Bassett.


  1. Brian Brooks

    I think we should always be cautious of phone calls, especially the ones that come from unfamiliar numbers. I personally choose to just ignore them and wait for them to leave messages. If they don’t, I Google the number or check on some sites like to see if people have reported them as scammers.

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