A new scam has surfaced targeting Medicare recipients. According to complaints filed with Better Business Bureau offices across the nation, scammers are calling Medicare recipients and urging them to set up a bank account to receive direct deposits from Medicare. The scammers claim to be working for the government and represent the senior’s new Medicare card is in the mail, but in order to continue receiving Medicare benefits, the senior must provide bank account and routing number so that Medicare benefits can be deposited straight to the senior’s account. Unfortunately, there is no new Medicare card or direct deposit on the way. The scammer simply wants access to clean out the senior’s bank account. The scammer’s pitch may sound authentic to seniors because the Social Security Administration has recently moved to a direct deposit system, allowing monthly Social Security funds to be deposited straight into a recipient’s account. Medicare is a completely different program than Social Security and does not distribute funds or benefits directly to beneficiaries.
- Don’t give out any of your personal information over the phone, on the internet, or in person to anyone you do not know. If you did not initiate the conversation, you should always be skeptical when a stranger is requesting the information.
- Be sure to take extra precautions when carrying your Medicare card in your purse or wallet. For now, the Medicare number on your card is almost always the same as your Social Security number, and if lost, that information could be used to commit identity theft. You should also never carry your Social Security card with you, for these same reasons.
- Register your telephone number on the national do-not-call registry by visiting: www.donotcall.gov. This will stop unwanted cold-call solicitations from legitimate telemarketing companies. However, it may not have any effect on a fraudster, so you should still use caution when talking with a stranger who is asking for your personal information.
Attorney Lee Drizin discusses other common scams targeted at seniors in his free continuing education courses accredited by the State of Nevada Board of Examiners for Social Workers:
Recognizing and Preventing Elder Exploitation (Elder Abuse Part I)
Elder Abuse Part II: Common Exploitation Scams