I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading posts on various blogs and social media platforms about the entertaining, first-person encounters of several personalities in the security industry with phone scammers posing as technical support technicians. I’m pleased that the calls have been received by those who are more than capable of seeing behind a scam, acting on it accordingly (oftentimes with humor), and telling the tale.
I wish I could say the same about the elderly who are prime targets of this recent wave of Medicare or Medicaid phone scam.
Scams using either Medicare or Medicaid are not new; however, they seem to come around every now and then.
According to several reports, cold calls are made from 409-579-1214 and 409-574-1214, both numbers pointing to Texas as origin, by a male or female caller with an accent. Of course, we can only assume that the phone numbers are more likely bogus.
Victims of this phone scam claim that the caller informed them that Medicare will be sending them a new card but they have to provide their Medicare number, which also happens to be their Social Security Number (SSN), along with their insurance details, banking details and other personally identifiable information (PII). However these criminals would use their victims’ information, may that be selling them in the black market, using them as credentials to access victim accounts, or impersonating their victims while conducting transactions, it’s never wise to freely give out information from unsolicited callers.
Another version of this phone scam involves the caller enticing insurees with free medical supplies in exchange for information. Sometimes, threatening them that they’ll lose health care coverage. Residents in the states of Michigan, South Carolina, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arizona, New Jersey and Maryland have reported receiving phone calls from these scammers.
Below are a few tips you, dear Reader, can follow to avoid becoming a target or being victimized by Medicare or Medicaid phishers/scammers:
- Know what to post and what not to post online. I saw one named victim of this scam on the news and found that her information (age and home phone number) are available online. Criminals can easily reach out to the targets the more available their contact details are.
- Never give out your SSN, banking details and other PI to anyone you don’t know. Legitimate companies like Medicaid and Medicare do not make unsolicited calls to their clients asking for more information about them or information not related to the service they’re providing.
- When in doubt, hang up and call Medicare or Medicaid to verify the caller’s claim. More than likely, Medicare or Medicaid will tell you that you have just dealt with a phisher/scammer and will advise you to never entertain such calls again. In this day and age, it pays to be skeptical.
- Spread the word. You might have seen through the scammers tactics and got away scratch-free, but how about your friends and family members who might also be targeted? Let them know your experience and warn them to never give out their information.
The FBI has released a list of tips that you might want to check out here.
Stay informed and stay safe!
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