This New Scam Targets Medicare Recipients — Here’s How to Avoid it

Medicare recipients beware: Scammers have a new way of getting your personal information that could empty your bank account and help them steal your identity.

The scammers are targeting mostly senior citizens, and the scam has become so widespread that the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office issued a warning about it.

Here’s How Medicare Scam Calls Work

A Medicare recipient will get a phone call from someone claiming to work for the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Social Security Administration or an insurance provider. The caller claims new cards from one of these agencies are in the works, and they need you to update your information on file.

From there, the scammer will ask for your banking information. Often, they’ll also ask you to confirm your Medicare ID number, which is the same as your Social Security number.

By the end of the short phone call, the scammer will have enough information to make fraudulent purchases and steal your identity.

“Callers involved in this crime ring may be extremely aggressive, calling over and over, and at all times of the day, in an attempt to wear down the potential victim,” according to a warning from the Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. “These criminals will say anything to try to gain a person’s trust… Do not believe these claims, and do not carry on a conversation with the caller.”

According to Swanson’s warning, people all over the country have reported receiving Medicare scam calls.

What to Do if You Get a Call

If you receive a call that sounds like the one described above, hang up immediately and report it.

According to Swanson’s office, talking to the scammers at all — even to tell them never to call again — could encourage them to keep calling in hopes of eventually wearing you down and gaining information.

Remember, the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services will not call you and ask to verify your ID number, nor will it ask for payment information because new cards are free.

If you’re concerned that you may have already given personal information to a scammer, contact the major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report right away.

Your Turn: Have you ever received a call from a scammer?

Desiree Stennett (@desi_stennett) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.