Scammers target seniors because they're more likely to have savings and less likely to question the identity of a caller claiming to be a Medicare official. Unfortunately, many seniors don't realize they've been scammed until it's too late.
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) April 24, 2013
Scambook, the Internet's leading complaint resolution platform, is warning senior citizens to watch out for a phone scam involving fraudulent Medicare. The scam is taking a variety of forms, such as offering special benefits or requesting personal information to issue a new Medicare card. In all instances, the victim is being contacted by a deceptive party who asks for a bank routing number.
Scambook has received over 100 consumer complaints about one alleged benefits company that has conned elderly Americans out of more than $130,000 dollars.
"Scammers target seniors because they're more likely to have savings and less likely to question the identity of a caller claiming to be a Medicare official," said Kase Chong, Scambook's Director of Marketing. "Unfortunately, many seniors don't realize they've been scammed until it's too late."
In most versions of this scam, the caller begins by asking the victim to verify basic information such as a telephone number or mailing address. This deludes the victim into providing much more private information such as a Social Security number or routing number. In instances where the victim provided a routing number, they or their caregiver observed subsequent unauthorized deductions from the checking account.
Additionally, many scammers are exploiting new changes from the Affordable Care Act to confuse victims further.
To protect vulnerable seniors, Scambook advises the following 5 tips:
1. Never give any personal information to an unsolicited caller. If no call is planned or expected, it's likely to be a scam. Any legitimate insurance company or Medicare representative will not request personal financial information over the phone.
2. Pressure to "act now" is a red flag. If the caller says it's a "one time offer" or attempts to coerce consumers with a certain deadline, this is a significant red flag. Legitimate health care companies will never pressure commitment.
3. Hang up as soon as the call becomes suspicious. Scambook advises consumers to trust their instincts. If the caller is speaking too fast and refuses to slow down, repeat themselves, or answer questions, it's likely to be a scam. Hang up and do not answer if they call back.
4. If in doubt, get the caller's information, call the insurance company or Medicare, or research them online. Ask for the caller's name, phone number and extension, and the name of their direct supervisor. Scambook recommends searching for this information on their complaint database or by using Google. If the caller does turn out to be legitimate, seniors can call them back later.
5. Contact the healthcare provider and monitor finances. If seniors suspect that a caller was trying to scam them, Scambook suggests calling the healthcare provider directly. If they were really trying to get in touch with the senior, there will be a record of the phone call. Additionally, Scambook advises monitoring bank accounts and bill statements very closely. The sooner an unauthorized charge is seen, the easier it will be to dispute.
Scambook urges consumers to share this information and visit http://www.scambook.com/blog for more information to safeguard themselves and senior citizens in their community.
Scambook is an online complaint resolution platform dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of fraud with unprecedented speed and accuracy. By building communities and providing resources on the latest scams, Scambook arms consumers with the up-to-date information they need to stay on top of emerging schemes. Since its inception, Scambook has resolved over $10 million in reported consumer damages. For more information, visit scambook.com.