BAD actors are targeting millions of seniors with Medicare scams designed to steal their money.
Medicare is a vital health care program used by millions of Americans.
But now criminals are using it to prey on older adults who may be more vulnerable to their tactics, the Federal Communications Commission said in a blog post.
HOW DOES THE SCAM WORK?
The scammers usually reach their victims via phone calls, but they can also contact you via email or SMS.
They then pretend to be the government or a specific federal agency.
“Bad actors can spoof the number displayed on your caller ID so that an incoming call appears to be from a government agency or healthcare provider that you already know and trust,” the FCC said.
They do this to convince you that the call is legitimate – even when it isn’t.
“Typically when you pick up, a fraudulent caller will start chatting up to you and ask you conversational questions to reassure you,” the FCC revealed.
“Whatever fraud scenario follows, the caller is trying to get your personal information, like your Medicare card number, your Social Security number, or other health insurance credentials,” the agency added.
However, Medicare will never call you unsolicited and ask for personal or private information.
You will normally receive a written statement in the mail before you receive a call from a government agency.
“Calls requesting health insurance information should not be trusted,” the FCC said.
HOW TO STAY SAFE
To protect people from this type of scam, the FCC has provided some practical tips.
“Never give your Medicare card, Medicare number, Social Security card, or Social Security number to anyone except your doctor or people you know should have it (e.g., insurers acting on your behalf, or people who work with Medicare, such as your state health insurance assistance). Program (SHIP),” the FCC noted.
You should never accept offers of money or gifts for free medical care.
Don’t allow anyone other than your doctor or other Medicare providers to view your medical records.
“If someone asks you for your information or money, or threatens to cut your health care benefits if you don’t provide your personal information, hang up,” the FCC added.
In addition, it is important that you do not answer calls from unknown numbers.