CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVDN) – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning consumers to be cautious of Medicare scams that seek to steal personal and sensitive information.
Scammers are known to pose as a Medicare representative or an affiliate and ask for bank account, credit card, Medicare and/or Social Security information and in some instances seek payment for the consumer’s newly issued Medicare card.
The attorney general’s office’s Consumer Protection Division fielded numerous reports of consumers having received such calls in recent weeks, including at least five West Virginia consumers who recently reported falling for the scam.
“There are many people who unfortunately target and exploit the elderly for nefarious purposes,” Morrisey said. “People who fall prey to this scam often do so because they are scared to lose their benefits, but that’s a threat scammers use to trick consumers into handing over personal, identifiable information.
“Don’t give into intimidation tactics — bullying or intimidation tactics is an immediate red flag.”
This scam has been continuing since after 2018 when distribution of new Medicare cards began. The new cards contain a new beneficiary number, instead of the recipient’s Social Security number, to limit fraud. There are no new updates planned.
The initial scam morphed into the “new Medicare card scam.” Reports have indicated scammers identifying themselves as employees of the Social Security Administration, Medicare or the Department of Insurance are calling consumers to say the person needs a new Medicare card or that they need to turn in their paper card for a plastic one. They then request personal information.
Another variation is the scammers call consumers telling them there’s been an issue with their Medicare number, and they need to clarify it by providing their personal identifiable information.
Medicare representatives — or for that matter, Social Security officials — will not call anyone uninvited to threaten the cancellation of benefits, request money and/or ask for personal information such as his or her new Medicare beneficiary number.
Always remember Medicare already has all the information about participants. Should Medicare require additional information, they will send a letter telling the participant what specific government agency they should contact to provide it.
The attorney general’s elder abuse litigation and prevention unit encourages anyone with questions or concerns to contact the unit’s senior services and elder abuse hotline at 304-558-1155 or HelpForSeniors@wvago.gov.
Senior citizens and their loved ones also can subscribe to the email scam alerts at http://bit.ly/SeniorScamAlert.
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