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Scam Central


Scammers Target Elderly During Medicare Open Enrollment




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October 24, 2012 | 1472 views | Post a comment

For Medicare beneficiaries, October 15 to December 7 provides them the opportunity to change their Medicare Part D plans and their Medicare Advantage Plans, but it also provides scam artists an opportunity to take advantage of the elderly.

Representing themselves as government officials, these thieves contact seniors by phone, email, or by coming to their doors, asking questions about their health insurance or offering them new cards to replace their current card. They trick you on the phone by using numbers that appear on the caller ID to be a local call or from somewhere in the United States, but in reality they use fake numbers to disguise that they are located overseas.

Why do they want this personal information? These crooks might be collecting Medicare numbers that will be used to commit Medicare fraud or Medical Identity Theft. “Once a scam artist has someone’s Medicare number, they will pass it around,” states Barbara McGinity, Texas Senior Medicare Patrol Project Director. “It is really important that you do not give out your Medicare number to strangers; protect it as you would your social security number.”

But they might be fishing for your bank account number. They trick people into giving out this info by asking for information on direct deposit of your social security check. Once they have your banking information, they can steal money out of your account in just a few hours.

If someone comes to your door to discuss health care reform, do not let them into your house and immediately contact your local police. If anyone calls you on the phone asking for personal information, hang up. Being rude is the best way to protect yourself. If you have given out banking information, contact your bank immediately to help close your account.

If you have questions about any phone calls you have received about your Medicare, you can contact the Texas Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-888-341-6187 or 713-341-6184. A nationwide program, the Senior Medicare Patrol works to educate seniors about Medicare fraud and abuse and is credited with saving taxpayers more than $100 million since 1997.
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