Scammers use pandemic to target Medicare recipients

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 6:03 PM CDT
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The pandemic has raised concerns not only about contracting the coronavirus but having medical coverage if you do.

That makes Medicare recipients more vulnerable to sales pitches and scams.

Pamela Salonis’ Medicare card is a financial lifesaver.

“I’ve got one, just one medication that costs over $3,000,” Salonis said.

Her future mother-in-law Kathy Rausch said a caller implied a frightening deadline.

“He said our cards are going to expire at the end of June,” Rausch said.

Salonis could not let that happen.

“He talked me out of everything. My Social Security number, everything,” Salonis said.

A Medicare spokesperson said fraudsters use someone’s Medicare number to bill Medicare or Medicaid for services unneeded or never delivered.

But an alleged Medicare call that did not come from Washington. The call to Salonis came from Miami and she handed it off to Rausch who ended it.

“I would not doubt he could have talked her out of just about anything because she is very vulnerable,” Rausch said.

Government offices are closed during the pandemic and because a scammer tricked her out of her Medicare information, Salonis is worried.

“They talked so fast, you can’t even grasp what they are saying before it is too late,” Salonis said.

Any more calls about Medicare, both women said they will shut up then hangup.

A medicare spokesperson tells us scammers are also offering unapproved coronavirus tests to trick clients out of their personal information. If you are contacted, call 1-800-Medicare and report it.