New scam about Medicare cards is making the rounds

Ron Craig, Crime Prevention/Community Policing Officer

        I got a phone call recently asking me if I had received my new Medicare card. I knew right away it was a scam, trying to get my personal information as she told me she was calling from Medicare. Medicare does not make such phone calls – all their business is conducted by mail.
        The other two dead giveaways were that she had a foreign accent and I could hear several other people in the background talking on phones, indicating it was a “boiler room” operation.
        She asked me what my Medicare number was, and I replied that she should know that if she was from Medicare. She said she had to ask for verification purposes. I gave her a number I had made up.
        Next, she asked me for my date of birth, and I again gave her a number I had fabricated. After a few minutes of playing along with her, I told her I was a crime prevention and community policing officer with a police department, and she promptly hung up on me.
        I’m sure the same scam is being done with Social Security cards.
        After the call, I wondered just how many people fall victim to these scams, not knowing what I have learned over the years. The calls seem so legitimate. Next thing the people who fall for these scams know, their bank accounts have been drained.
        If you get a phone call from someone purporting to be from Medicare, Social Security, or some other federal agency, just hang up.
        If you get any phone calls from anyone who asks you to call them back, don’t write down the number and call it back, instead, look up the number for Medicare, Social Security, etc., and call that number instead. If the call is a scam, you will most likely find out the phone number the caller provided you is not the actual phone number for that business or agency.
        We recently had a township resident who nearly got scammed out of several thousands of dollars in a phone scam. She received a phone call from someone purporting to be from a federal agency telling her she was suspected of being involved in an underage pornography operation. She was so shook up that she followed the orders of the caller and bought gift cards and called a phone number back and gave the numbers from the back of those cards to the caller.
        After she had done all this, she knew something wasn’t right and called us. We advised her to immediately contact her bank, where the charges for the cards were still a pending transaction, so the bank stopped payment on the card purchase.
        This woman did not lose any money in this scam only because she reported the scam so quickly to her bank, before the transaction was complete.
        This article is a public service from the Community Policing/Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.


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