Medicare scam targets seniors

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- 3 On Your Side has a warning for those of you who are on Medicare. The warning is about a scam out there.

This scam kind of died down for awhile, but it is back full strength. According to the Better Business Bureau, it has to do with Medicare, senior citizens and a mysterious phone call those seniors are getting.
At Fellowship Square Phoenix, you'll find plenty of active senior citizens who love passing time together.

"I like everything, I like the meals, I like the exercise, I like the activities, I'm always busy," resident Katherine Prentice said.

And scammers are always busy targeting this population.
No one knows that more than Felicia Thompson, who's with the Better Business Bureau here in Phoenix.

"It's unfortunate that we always hear about the scams targeting seniors and Medicare is no different. We continually see that being used against seniors," Thompson said.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 and older. Seniors depend on it and that's exactly why scammers are posing as Medicare representatives and calling seniors in an attempt to trick them.

"They are supposedly getting a call from someone saying that they're from Medicare saying that they're going to be issued a new card," Thompson said.

The caller says he needs specific information so their health coverage isn't interrupted.
And just like that, many seniors gladly tell the scammer whatever he needs and it starts with the person's Medicare number, which is usually the person's Social Security number.

"I think as elderly people, we are more vulnerable because they see us as people who are not as careful," Fellowship Square Phoenix resident Myrtis Britt said.

"We're urging folks, seniors especially, not to give medicare numbers over the phone, especially to someone they don't know," Thompson said.

Seniors are encouraged to protect their Medicare card just like a credit card. Always keep it in a safe place, and never divulge your Medicare number to someone you don't know.

"That number is the gateway. It opens up the door to so many things when it falls into the wrong hands," Thompson said.

These seniors say they'll keep an eye and an ear out and hope other seniors won't fall for this scam.

"I think that's cheap, and cheap is evil," Fellowship Square Phoenix resident Gale Prentice said.

If you get a call like this, don't answer any questions at all. If you're worried or have questions, you can always call the number on the back of your medicare card.