Phone Scammers Continue to Target Seniors

Phone Scammers Continue to Target Seniors

With phone scams on the rise, California’s Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) alerts beneficiaries to be wary of scam artists trying to get their personal information such as their Medicare, Social Security or bank account numbers.

Call our Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) helpline at 855-613-7080 to report suspected fraudulent phone calls.

Recently a Santa Cruz resident reported receiving a call from someone alleging to be from Medicare with plans to send out a new Medicare card. The caller then verified her name, address and telephone number, and asked for her bank account number. When she declined, the caller transferred her to a supervisor.

In another reported scam, a caller telephoned a beneficiary, verified his name, address and date of birth and said they were issuing new Medicare cards and thus needed to verify this information. The caller also asked for this beneficiary’s bank account number where his Social Security check is deposited, explaining that they needed to take out a one-time fee of $40 to issue his new Medicare card.

These are two examples of very common schemes. In both instances, it’s important to remember that Medicare does NOT call beneficiaries. Medicare is not giving out new Medicare cards, and even if the Program was, Medicare would not call you. And Medicare does NOT need to know a beneficiary’s Medicare number. They already have it. They also do NOT need a person’s bank account information. We strongly advise beneficiaries not to give out their personal information such as Medicare number, Social Security number or bank account information out over the telephone, especially to someone they don’t know.

We’ve received growing reports of such calls around the state. If you or anyone you know has received a similar call, call our Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) helpline at 855-613-7080 to report it. If you can collect the person’s and/or their company’s name, phone number and any other information such as a website, this will also help us report and stop this 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.