Avoid Falling Victim To The New Medicare Phone Scam
In a bid to tackle fraud, Medicare is scrapping cards which display the owner’s Social Security number and are replacing them with new ones. As a result, 59 million seniors are set to receive new Medicare cards over the coming months. There are multiple advantages of the Medicare system, however, scammers have already found a way to use these new cards to con the older generation out of their money.
The phone scam
In their latest trick, scammers are calling those enrolled in the Medicare program pretending to be a Medicare employee or a insurance agent working on behalf of the company. They go on to explain that the new cards must be paid for and thus cunningly con the senior into handing over their bank account information and Social Security number. This will then give them all they need to steal the senior’s identity. Medicare has no reason to call any of their card holders about the new cards as they have all the information they require to send the new ones out. So, if you do get a call from someone claiming to be from the company, hang up immediately.
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud have advised that the scammers may display threatening behavior and pressurize you into believing that you will lose your Medicare benefits if you don’t give them what they want. This is nothing more than a scare tactic, but it can leave seniors feeling vulnerable and shaken up. Such tricks can lead seniors to display signs of “vicarious victimization”, which The National Center on Elder Abuse defines as a senior citizen who fears becoming a victim. And, should a senior unwittingly hand over their personal and financial information, they could end up losing their financial independence and their quality of life will diminish as they continually worry about falling victim again.
31% of those aged 60 to 70 years of age and 19% of individuals aged 70 and above have experienced severe financial stress, according to the FRB. The implications of financial stress include sleep issues and the development of chronic illnesses. Therefore, be sure to follow your gut feeling when you get a suspect call. Terminating the call will empower you and will also ensure that you and your finances are healthy and secure. You can further protect yourself by utilizing Arizona’s Department of Insurance. They allow you to run a license search on anyone claiming to be an insurance agent or broker. Simply ask the caller for their license number and either call the Department of Insurance or use their website to run a check. A scammer on the other end of the phone won’t have such a number and will likely hang up before you get chance to question him or her further.
In the long run the new Medicare cards will benefit millions of seniors and will keep their Social Security number safe. It’s just a shame that scammers have found a way to con the elderly during this changeover period. To avoid falling foul to their tricks, remember that Medicare won’t contact you about these cards and that they’re free of charge. And, should you end up on a suspect call, terminate it immediately.