Phone Scam “Titles” Change But the Tactics Remain the Same

Phone Scam “Titles” Change But the Tactics Remain the Same

We continue to receive reports of new phone scams. Yet while the “title” of the scam may change, the fundamental tactics are the same. Below is a warning of two recent scams reported to us this month, followed by a list of common tactics. This list provides a helpful reminder of what to watch out for to protect yourself from fraud and to report it when encountered.

Two Recent Scams:

New Medicare benefits phone scam: In this scam, a caller claims to be a Medicare representative and wants you to know all about Medicare’s new and improved benefits. The caller than asks you to verify your Medicare number, primary physician information and current health conditions. Remember, Medicare will never call you to report on new benefits, AND will not ask you for your personal information. Medicare already has it. Hang up and report this number to our Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) helpline at 855-613-7080.)

Medical device alert robocall phone scam: In this scam, a beneficiary receives a call from recording (also referred to as a “robocall”) which says, “You have been recommended to receive this device by a physician … dial 1 to continue …” You will know if a medical device is recommended by your doctor through a direct one-on-one conversation with him or her, not through a phone call. This is a scam. Hang up and report the number to SMP.

Common Phone Scam Tactics:

  • Fraudsters often call consumers early in the a.m.
  • The sales pitch is done rapidly, usually with a foreign accent
  • Callers deliberately confuse people into believing they represent Social Security or Medicare
  • Caller promises a new Medicare card or medical card
  • Caller offers free medical alert equipment (or other free equipment or supplies) to get their checking account information, credit card and/or Medicare number

Again, if you come across any of these scenarios, see if you can get some information on the caller and their number, hang up and report the scam to our Senior Medicare Patrol at 855-613-7080.

See our Medicare Fraud section for more info on fraud.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.