Ohio AG warns of Medicare scam

Bryan Cohen Nov. 30, 2011, 1:30pm


COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned Ohioans on Wednesday to beware of callers who pretend to be from Medicare asking for personal information.

Several Ohio consumers have reported possible Medicare scams to DeWine's office. While many consumers recognize the ploy and hang up on the caller, others do not realize the scam until they have already provided the caller with their personal information. Medicare does not cold call consumers and ask for personal information.

"If you receive an unexpected call saying you need a new Medicare card and must provide your social security number, it's a scam," DeWine said. "We want Ohioans to be especially aware of these phony calls during this final week of Medicare's open enrollment period."

In a standard version of the scam, a con artist calls a consumer falsely claiming that the consumer needs a new Medicare card or must verify enrollment. The caller asks for the consumer's bank account number and social security number. Consumers who provide the caller with their information put themselves at risk for identity theft.

A request for account verification is a classic sign of a phishing scam, in which identity thieves try to trick consumers into revealing personal information, such as their bank account information or social security number.

Although callers may claim to be representatives of Medicare, these calls are in no way associated with Medicare. When in doubt, consumers should hang up and contact Medicare directly, using a number they know to be legitimate. Consumers who give out personal information in connection with suspicious phone calls should file a police report, notify their bank and contact the credit reporting bureaus.

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