Phone Scams on the Rise

“Our Senior Medicare Patrol hotline has been ringing off the hook,” said Micki Nozaki, our Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Data Specialist. In the last 2 months, our SMP office has received 14 calls regarding a recent phone scam that is quickly spreading across the U.S. In this scam, callers tell beneficiaries that they are receiving a new Medicare card. Callers then ask beneficiaries to take out their check books and read them the numbers on the bottom of the check. Many elders have fallen for it. Yet, thanks to SMP volunteers spreading the word and putting out fraud alerts in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese to senior centers and senior housing sites around the state, many beneficiaries are also hanging up and reporting these calls to their local SMP programs.

Another scam we’ve been notified of is particularly focused on the Vietnamese community. Callers are telling Vietnamese elders that they can qualify for Social Security benefits; they just need to send in $80 to apply.

Again remember that Medicare and Social Security will never call to sell you anything, will never ask you for your checking account number, and will not ask you to send money to apply for a benefits program. If you come across a similar scam or other Medicare fraud, contact our California Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-855-613-7080. See our Medicare Fraud section for more info on fraud and how to become a volunteer in your own community.