Scams targeting older adults are endless, primarily because they keep working. The newest version of an ongoing scam is one where an “official” with Medicare is calling because Medicare is sending out new cards and he needs to verify some information. Of course the information he is looking for is your banking information.
Beneficiaries must remember that:
- Medicare will never call you on the phone
- Medicare and Social Security will never ask you for your banking information
Neither Medicare nor Social Security need your banking information, but the crooks do so they can steal your money.
Beware, as even the most knowledgeable beneficiaries can fall for this scam. The callers are convincing. They often have some of your banking information to make themselves sound legit. Then they use a little information to get more out of you.
What can you do?
First is not to answer your phone. Use your answering machine to screen all your calls. Do not tell them not to call. This just gives them an opportunity to hook you in and make you a victim. Remember, these crooks are successful because they are good at what they do.
Second, have a safety script by your phone. Tell people you do not give out personal information to anyone who calls on the phone. Tell them you have to verify who they are and you need their name, agency name, and call back number. And stick to this script no matter what they say to convince you otherwise. Most likely, they will hang up and move on to the next potential victim.
Third, if you do get a call, report it to the California Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-855-613-7080. Then take the time to spread the word to your friends and family to be on the lookout for the latest scam targeting seniors and share your experience. The more people we warn, the better chance we have of finally putting these crooks out of business.
See our Medicare Fraud section for more information on fraud and abuse.
This article was edited from a press release from the Texas SMP program, June 2013.