As 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.
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.