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Phone calls seeking Medicare information likely lead to identity theft

Medicare scams seem to come with the holiday season, especially during the open-enrollment period that lasts through the end of the year. Scammers typically seek financial information from seniors over the phone in a scheme that amounts to Medicare identity theft.

A South Florida Sun Sentinel story describes it this way: “The callers in the latest scheme claim to work for insurance giant Humana or its CarePlus subsidiary, and say they need the senior’s birth date, Social Security, bank account and Medicare numbers to arrange the refund, Humana officials said. Scammers typically use such information to take out credit or debit cards in the senior’s name and run up big bills.”

The quickest way to thwart scammers? Don’t give out information over the phone. It sounds easy, but the story says the 3.3 million Florida residents who are in the midst of signing up may be confused and think they’re talking with legitimate representatives.

The scam isn’t unique to Florida. In the past, seniors have been solicited in every state for some type of Medicare fraud. Here are some tips from the Medicare blog on how to fight fraud. And here’s what the FBI says about common Medicare fraud schemes.

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So next time someone asks for Medicare information over the phone, you’ll know what not to say.


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