Health care reform leads to telephone scam

Filed under: Daily News,Health Care |

phone-scamAs the implementation of the Affordable Care Act nears, Colorado’s elderly are the target of a scam to obtain their personal information and bank accounts, according to the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

The scammers call from a Texas area code, and claim the person is being issued a new national medical card or a new Medicare card as part of implementation of the ACA. To finalize the card, the person asks for bank routing numbers and accounts. No such card is necessary, nor does it exist, say DORA officials.

While senior citizens are targeted in Colorado, the Federal Trade Commission says all consumers can be targeted under this scam.

“So far, the beneficiaries reporting this scam to SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) have not become victims, but they have been concerned enough to report the incident,” said Alice Ierley, SMP Program Director. “We need to alert people to this so that they keep up their guard. We expect similar scams to pop up as the 2014 implementation date for healthcare reform approaches.”

Consumers are urged not to give personal details to people over the phone. If asked for personal, financial details, hang up and then take the following actions:

Keep details such as name of caller, telephone number, location of the caller and provide this information to investigators.

1. Report the call to the FTC – 1-877-FTC-HELP or at  www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

2. If you are a Medicare beneficiary, report the incident to the Colorado SMP fraud hotline, 1-800-503-5190. Know that Medicare never contacts beneficiaries by phone.

3. Contact your local police or sheriff department to report the incident.

4. Report the incident to your bank and alert them to the possible scam. Ask the bank to flag your account for questionable transactions.

5. Make sure you are on the no call list. National Do Not Call Registry – 1-888-382-1222  or www.donotcall.gov Colorado No Call List – 1-800-309-7041  or www.coloradonocall.com

The Senior Medicare Patrol  empowers seniors and others to address Medicare fraud, billing errors and program abuse. The program uses volunteers to educate community members on preventing, detecting and reporting fraud. In Colorado, it is administered by DORA’s Division of Insurance.

2 Responses to Health care reform leads to telephone scam

  1. Thanks for sharing this information. I’ve read about this at http://www.callercenter.com and I learned from the posts that some scammers can be very tricky. So everybody are advised to be cautious about anonymous calls. When they’re not ordinary calls, they usually turn out to be fraudulent ones.

    cristie
    March 30, 2013 at 5:51 am

  2. My elderly Mom lives in Washington state and this sounds like exactly what happened to her this week.
    Two people talked to her, she was told this same story about a Medicare card and asked to read all the numbers on the bottom of her check. She was asked to repeat them again to another individual who said the information was being recorded. When she began questioning them she was hung up on. Unfortunately she did not get their phone number but at least had the presence of mind to believe it to be a scam but she had already given out her banking information. I have spent the last 2 days closing her bank account and opening a new one. She feels totally mortified that she would fall for such a scam but of course it sounded like an official call and she was easily preyed upon because she is aging and vulnerable. I hope these crooks can be caught and stopped.

    Janina Thompson
    April 5, 2013 at 12:15 am