October 3, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - With the confusion over changes in health care and with open enrollment for those on Medicare, scammers are preying on seniors, trying to get their Medicare and bank account numbers. Sue McConnell, senior vice president, Better Business Bureau, Cleveland, said current Medicare beneficiaries should not be fooled.
"Definitely do not provide any personal information, any sensitive information to someone who calls you or emails you or shows up at your front door," McConnell said.
The Federal Trade Commission has issued warnings saying scammers claim to be from the government and insist on getting information so new national medical cards can be issued. McConnell advised seniors not to fall for it, saying no one should be calling unsolicited about health-care changes. Ohioans who need information on open enrollment can go online at www.healthcare.gov.
The consumer advocate noted that there is some confusion about the Affordable Care Act, and scammers will use that as a way to intimidate consumers to get the information they want.
"We can be easily made vulnerable to scams trying to either get us to send money to someone or to provide Social Security numbers to someone - or any other kind of sensitive personal information," she warned.
McConnell added that you can't trust your caller ID.
"If your phone rings and your caller ID is telling you it's your health insurance company or the government or some other official type of call, scammers are able to get equipment that spoofs the phone number they are using to call you," she explained, "to make that phone number appear to be anything they want it to appear to be."
The government typically uses the U.S. mail to contact people, McConnell said. So, if you get an email, a text message or a phone call claiming to be from the government, she said don't buy it. It's probably a scammer trying to get something from you.
More information is available at www.consumer.ftc.gov.
Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH
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