SHERMAN, June 27, 2013 – Dr. Susan Thomas, Executive Director of Texoma Council of Governments (TCOG) today cautioned seniors of new Medicare scams. “Our seniors are being targeted because they are a vulnerable population. They have grown up to trust others and not question someone on the phone who appears to be a person of authority,” Thomas stated.
Seniors are receiving phone calls from individuals who want to make an appointment to come to their home and deliver a new Medical Alert paid for by Medicare. Medicare does not pay for medical alert systems and this item is not free. This is merely a trick for seniors to give out personal information over the phone to strangers. Once these scammers get a Medicare number, which is also the senior’s Social Security number, they will bill Medicare for items and services the senior never received. Protect yourself from potential identity theft and protect the Medicare system from fraud and abuse.
Our seniors are being targeted because they are a vulnerable population. They have grown up to trust others and not question someone on the phone who appears to be a person of authority.
Another version of an ongoing scam is one where an “official” with Medicare is calling because Medicare is sending out new cards and he needs to verify some information. The caller is looking for banking information. Two facts: 1) Medicare will NEVER call you on the phone; and 2) Neither Medicare nor Social Security needs your banking information. Even the most knowledgeable seniors can fall prey to this scam. The callers are convincing. They often have some portion of your banking information to seem legitimate.
What can you do? Use your answering machine to screen your calls. Have a safety script by your phone to tell people you do not give out personal information to anyone on the phone. Tell them you have to verify who they are and you need their name, agency name, and call back number. Stick to this script; most likely, they will hang up and move on to the next potential victim. If you do get a call, report it to the Texas Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-888-341-6187. Then take the time to spread the word to your friends and family to be on the lookout for the latest scam targeting seniors.
The Texoma Council of Governments is a voluntary association of the local governments in Cooke, Fannin, and Grayson Counties. Established in 1968, the Texoma Council of Governments promotes economy and efficiency in the coordinated planning and development of the tri-county region through its community and economic development activities. Either directly, or through contractors, the Council provides housing, utility assistance, and weatherization services for low-income citizens in the region and assists the elderly through a variety of Area Agency on Aging programs. The Council also facilitates the delivery of grant funding for homeland security and criminal justice.
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