Idaho Medicare Recipients Need to Beware

It is becoming too common to hear about fraudulent and dishonest individuals trying to either frighten or trick Medicare recipients – especially seniors – into either changing their coverage to inferior plans or giving out personal and sensitive information so they can use it for various types of fraud.

Yesterday, in Pocatello, Idaho there was an NBC news story stating that such a group was targeting individuals in the area by calling them up and telling them that their Medicare was at stake.  They would offer a discount Medicare card that was intended to replace the valid Medicare card they already have. 

The person that called one woman was a male, who told her about the discount card and stated that he needed some information first.  It is interesting that he already had her bank routing number and her address, which is unsettling in itself, but he then asked for her Social Security number and her bank account number. 

Fortunately, the woman had a clue.  She knew that something wasn’t right, and she had already heard that there was a scam, so she did not give the individual the information he was asking for.  Then the man told her that she would lose her benefits for three months, since she would not give the requested information.  Instead of continuing the conversation, she called the police.

Unfortunately, other individuals who are Medicare recipients have not fared so well.  As a result, the Pocatello police have warned seniors about this scam.  They have told seniors in the area to be extremely careful about relaying any personal information, especially over the phone.  It is also important to note that there are certain ways to verify that the individual is truly from Medicare.  If you have caller I.D., the number will show up or the name Medicare or CMS will come up on the I.D.  In addition, it is rare that you would be asked for your bank account number unless you call them and ask for direct deposit.  Also, they will not usually ask for your Social Security number because they have it.  They will often read it to you and have you verify it. 

If you are not comfortable with the person who is calling or the questions they are asking, get their name, their employee identification number and their phone number, plus their extension and the city they are in.  They should readily give you that information so that you can call back, or they will give you the main number to call and tell you that you can talk to anyone there.  If they won’t give you the information you request or if they hang up when you ask, they are probably not legitimate.  If this happens to you, report it to your local police as well as the agency they say they are from, such as Medicare or Social Security.

It is important to be aware of people and situations that could jeopardize your benefits or finances.  Trust your instincts, and be cautious.  Don’t give information out unless you are sure who you are speaking to.  Stay on guard and keep yourself safe.

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