BBB warns of Medicare scams in area | News
BBB was contacted this week from a senior Rathdrum woman who received a suspicious phone call supposedly regarding her Medicare card. The scammer, with a thick Eastern Indian accent, appeared to be reading a script explaining that the woman needed to be sent a new Medicare card.
The woman was concerned that the caller had her address, zip code and phone number, all of which she confirmed with him.
When he asked her to 'confirm' the bank account where she deposits her social security check, she knew it was a scam and refused to provide it.
BBB received a similar report the next day from a woman in Yakima, Washington.
BBB has seen a steady increase in Medicare-related scams since the beginning of the year, receiving 5-10 calls per week. "Seniors should be extra cautious of any unsolicited phone calls claiming to be from Medicare," said Chelsea Dannen, BBB Director of Communications. "Scammers know to gain your trust by confirming details they already have about you, then it's easy to trick you into giving up sensitive or financial information."
BBB offers the following tips on safeguarding personal information and protecting against Medicare scams:
- Be suspicious of any door-to-door or telephone solicitations claiming to be affiliated with Medicare.
- Do not provide your bank account information, Medicare number, social security number or any other personal information to unknown individuals over the phone; particularly telephone marketers claiming to be from Medicare and asking for payment.
- Review medical bills, Medicare Summary notices and insurance Explanation of Benefits for medical equipment or service charges that you did not incur. If you find unusual or questionable medical charges, contact your health care provider immediately.
- Only give your insurance/Medicare information to those who have provided you with medical services.
- Keep accurate records of medical appointments, procedures and medical equipment.
- Never sign blank Medicare insurance forms.
Call your local BBB to obtain information on a business at 509-455-4200 or visit www.bbb.org.