INDIANAPOLIS — There has been a rash of phone calls from solicitors claiming to be from the “Senior Medicare Card Office” who are manipulating Medicare beneficiaries into revealing their bank account numbers. Once they have obtained this information, the solicitor then goes on to steal money from the beneficiary’s bank account.
The caller initially explains that the beneficiary will be receiving updated Medicare cards within the “next three to five days,” but first, the beneficiary must verify over the phone, personal information, such as name, address and other information. As a lure to get the banking account number, the caller then reads the routing number of the person’s bank (the first series of numbers on a check), then asks the beneficiary to complete the sequence by providing the numbers of their actual banking account. The caller’s tone is particularly authoritative, and if the beneficiary does not readily comply, an alleged “supervisor” is put on the line to exert additional pressure.
Protect yourself. Remember that Medicare will never, ever call on the phone or knock at a door. New Medicare cards will only be issued when a beneficiary initiates the request for a lost or stolen card. And, aside from setting up a direct deposit account to receive a Medicare check, Medicare does not need personal bank account numbers. This is only true if the bank account in which the Medicare check is to be deposited has changed, but the change must be initiated by the beneficiary.
- Never give out personal or financial information, regardless of who calls. If in doubt, call the number of a legitimate business using information obtained from a legitimate source — In this case: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4223)
- If you have caller ID, write down the number.
- Be assertive and hang up the phone! It’s shrewd to be rude.
- Contact the Senior Medicare Patrol investigators at: 1-800-986-3505. Be sure to document the event.
If you believe you have been taken in a scam, first make a police report and then call the Marion County Fraud Line at (317)327-5396 to report the scam.