By Leigh DeNoon, Indiana News Service
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - With the confusion over changes in health care and with open enrollment for those on Medicare, scammers are preying on seniors, trying to get their Medicare and bank account numbers. Nancy Stone, Indiana Senior Medicare Patrol program director, said current Medicare beneficiaries should not be getting calls about signing up for health-care plans.
"What we always tell them is to just hang up," Stone said. "Don't give out any personal information. Medicare will never call you. Because that's what they say - sometimes they say they're from Medicare and they want to confirm their information."
The Federal Trade Commission has issued warnings saying scammers claim to be from the government and insist on getting information so new national medical cards can be issued. Stone advised seniors not to fall for it, saying no one should be calling unsolicited about health-care changes.
The senior advocate said the scammers will try high-pressure tactics on the phone to get the information they want.
"The purpose is to get your financial identity, because, as you know, your Medicare number is your Social Security number. If they have that plus your bank account number, they can just go to town," she warned.
Stone urged seniors who are targeted by scammers to get in touch with Senior Medicare Patrol to help with investigating the scam and get the information to the Federal Trade Commission.
"We tell them to call their bank right away or go to the bank. And we also can call 1-800-Medicare with them - or they can call on their own - and they can report it to the FTC," she said. "The FTC really does want to know about this, as well."
Hoosier seniors who have been targeted by a scam can call their Area Agency on Aging at 800-986-3505, and they will be directed to Senior Medicare Patrol.
More information is available at www.consumer.ftc.gov.