Medicare Impostors Scaring Elders into Paying for
The indefinite future of health care
coverage is being exploited by Medicare and Medicaid impostors who
are calling older beneficiaries and threatening to cancel benefits if
they don't pay to renew their health insurance cards. In some
instances, the offenders also demand personal information, such as Social
Security numbers or financial accounts for the purpose of committing
Identity theft. Although these scams are more common during
Medicare's open enrollment period which takes place in the fall,
offenders often ply their trade whenever there is a national event or
uncertainty that could threaten the quality of life of particular
vulnerable individuals. Among other unsavory characteristics, these
con artists are particularly adept at using consumers' anxieties to rip
them off. Expect this trend to continue, but don't take the bait! Never
give out Medicare or bank account numbers over the phone unless you
initiate the call, such as to replace a lost or stolen card.
Facts about Medicare
does not charge to get a new card.
will never call to verify a consumer's account number, or to promote
a Medicare product or service.
SPECIAL NOTE: Medicare accounts and Social Security numbers are
one and the same, which puts recipients at risk of identity
theft. Beginning April, 2018, SSN's are scheduled to be
removed from Medicare cards and will be replaced with a randomly
selected account number.
Be wary of any unexpected calls from "Medicare,"
even if it is not regarding this particular scam, another one may be
waiting in the wings. Remember don't give out any personal
information to someone calling you. If you are unsure of the
legitimacy, hang up and call Medicare directly.
Who doesn't want to make a few extra dollars?
There are a number of legitimate businesses that pay consumers
to be secret shoppers. But the legitimate ones don't:
- Sign you up to be a secret shopper without you
- Ask you to "secret shop" money grams.
- Send you a check, (unsolicited) for far more than
the contracted fee of service.
A local insurance company found that they were being
victimized as part of this scam. The check that accompanied the
secret shopper letter, looks legitimate. After all, there is a
routing number, the company's name and address on the top. But
scammers can make almost anything look real. If you come across this
"offer" ask yourself:
- Did I sign up to be a secret shopper?
- Does it make sense that the check would be from a
local insurance company?
- Why would a local insurance company be paying a
secret shopper to test money grams at Walmart?
- And, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably
As with any scam, it's easy to spot when you aren't
staring at a potential windfall. It's important to always ask
yourself, does this make sense, before depositing a check.
THINK YOU'VE BEEN SCAMMED?
If you suspect you've been scammed or exploited, report it to
our Fraud Hot Line.
Interested in learning more about scams happening in
Denver? Do you want to know how to protect yourself from identity theft?
Maro Casparian is available for speaking engagements to any group or
organization. Contact her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
via phone: 720.913.9036.