BBB Scam Alert: Don’t Pick Up for Fake Medicare Calls

Posted in #AgeWell

Written by International Association of Better Business Bureaus

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BBB Scam Tracker has received thousands of reports about scam calls claiming to be from Medicare representatives. Protect yourself and your loved ones from this unfortunately common scam by understanding what to watch out for.

How the Scam Works

All these scams start with a call that appears on your caller ID as Medicare or Social Security Administration, but they have many variationss. Regardless of the method, the scammer’s goal is to steal your personal information for their personal benefit. Some of the most popular versions reported to BBB Scam Tracker are below:  

  • When you pick up the phone, a Medicare impersonator offers you something for free, such as a back or knee brace. All you have to do is share some personal information, such as your Social Security number, to “confirm” your identity.
  • Some versions capitalize on the rollout of new Medicare cards, which started in April 2018 and will continue through April 2019.  The delivery of the new cards in staggered, so you will receive your card at a different time than your friends or neighbors. 
  • In another version, scammers attempt to intimidate you by claiming there is a problem with your Medicare or Social Security benefits. They may claim there has been suspicious activity on your account and if you don’t give them the information they need right away, you are in danger of losing your benefits or worse.
  • Sometimes, scammers use robocalls to tell you there is a problem and ask you to call a different number to resolve it. 

How to Protect Yourself

  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you receive a call from a number you haven’t saved to your contacts, or if your caller ID says “unknown,” don’t pick up the phone. Also, be aware that scammers can dupe caller ID and mask their true phone number. A legitimate caller or contact will generally leave you a voicemail and request you return their call. And if they know they are calling your cell phone most family and friends will text you.
  • When in doubt, hang up.If you do answer a call from an unsolicited caller and are greeted by a robocall or even a person who claims to be with a government agency, just hang up. Don’t press any buttons, don’t engage in conversation and don’t ask to be removed from the calling list.
  • Know how government agencies work.Government agencies don’t call consumers unsolicited. Instead, they send letters if they need to contact you. Also, the new Medicare cards are being provided free of charge.

For More Information

If you receive a particularly convincing call from someone claiming to be an SSA employee, hang up and call their toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 to verify the issue. Likewise, you can call
1-800-MEDICARE to verify Medicare issues.

If you have received a call from a government agency impersonator, help others avoid falling victim and report the details of the call to BBB.org/ScamTracker.

If you have been the victim of identity theft, go to IdentityTheft.gov for more information and a personalized recovery plan.

BBBs Serving Acadiana, Central Georgia, Northern Alabama, Central & Eastern Kentucky and Central Ohio contributed to this articleAdFile a ComplaintReport a ScamBecome BBB Accredited
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