Phony Medicare Phone Call

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning seniors on Medicare to be aware of phone calls wanting to update their medical information or to send them a new card. “We need consumers to know that these are NOT legitimate phone calls.

Scammers are looking for personal information under the ruse of information verification.” stated BBB President Jim Hegarty.

“If the crooks can get banking information, they’ll use it to commit identity theft.
These scammers can be very aggressive, often calling many times and at all hours of the day to wear down their potential victims. They may even have limited information about the person that’s easily gleaned from public databases that they use to make the call seem legitimate,” said Hegarty.

Recently, a 75 year old woman reported to the BBB that she had continually received phone calls for a week. She finally answered one of these calls, and it was from a man with an accent who identified himself as an “officer.” He told her that her Medicare card was “not good” and a free plastic card had been made for her.

The woman asked him if he was with Medicare and he quickly replied that he was not, but reiterated that this would be her “new” Medicare card and identified his business as a company located in Las Vegas. A BBB investigation could not find any company in Las Vegas with the name given to the consumer by the caller.

As the woman continued to question the caller, he became belligerent and transferred her to another “officer” who spoke with a similar accent. This “officer” had all of her bank account numbers except the final three digits which he said he needed to verify her identity. Eventually, she provided the numbers because she was feeling pressured and wanted to end the call. After getting her account information, the “officer” stated that the card would not be sent to her. The woman notified her bank shortly after the call, and fortunately, no one had yet tried to access her account.

The BBB recommends the following tips to avoid this scam:

• Medicare does not make phone calls regarding new cards and will never call to ask for sensitive personal financial information
• Do not give out any personal information over the phone, especially is it is from an unsolicited caller
• If you receive a suspicious phone call, immediately hang up
• Contact BBB’s toll free Senior Line at 877-637-3334 for advice or call the Medicare hotline at 1-800-447-8477

Better Business Bureau, Inc. (BBB) has been serving U.S consumers and businesses for 100 years and is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing trust in the marketplace. Accountability, education and recognition of business role models are key components to the BBB's mission. Today BBB serving Nebraska, South Dakota the Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa is supported by approximately 10,000 Accredited Businesses that have voluntarily committed to adhere to BBB’s Standards of Trust. Consumers are encouraged to visit bbb.org for Business Reviews on over 4 million companies or to report complaints and possible scams

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