A local bank manager was extremely concerned when one of his bank customers reported she’d given out her bank account information.
“They told her that she was going to get a new Medicare card, and needed her account number to make certain the information was correct,” he says. “We took care of tagging the account.”
The woman told the banker the caller was so smooth that she was caught off guard before she recognized the error.
“She said he was verifying her status, and she fell for it – giving him the account number,” the banker says.
Calls are being made to elderly and disabled residents in the Snake River Region by scammers looking for Medicare or Medicaid information under the ruse of information verification.
In the last few weeks, the BBB has received numerous phone calls from residents reporting they received phone calls, supposedly from federal agencies, asking for personal information such as Medicare, Medicaid, social security, credit card or bank account numbers.
The victim might be given any number of excuses to provide this information including that an error needs to be fixed, that he or she is part of a survey or eligible to receive free products or can sign up for a new prescription drug plan.
If the crooks can get banking information, they’ll use it to commit identity theft.
These crooks can be very aggressive, often calling many times and at all hours of the day to wear down their potential victims. They may even have limited information about the person that’s easily gleaned from public databases that they use to make the call seem legitimate.
Medicare, Medicaid and the Social Security Administration will not call you to update information or issue a new card. If you get one of these calls, hang up and report it to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at www.cms.gov website.
The BBB recommends the following tips to avoid this scam:
• Never give out their personal information over the phone, especially if it is from an unsolicited caller. IF consumers receive a suspicious phone call, they should hang up immediately.
• Remind elderly family members that Medicare will never call to ask for sensitive personal financial information. If you suspect fraud contact your local police or the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General at 800-HHS-TIPS.
• Never sign blank insurance claim forms.
• Never give blanket authorization to a medical provider to bill for services rendered.
• Ask your medical providers what they will charge and how much you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket.
• Carefully review your insurer's explanation of benefits statement. Call your insurer and provider if you have questions.
• Don’t do business with door-to-door or telephone salespeople who tell you that medical services or equipment are free.
• Give your insurance/Medicare identification only to those who have provided you with medical services.
• Keep accurate records of all health care appointments.
Most Medicare related scams reported to BBB involve some form of identity theft.