TULSA, Okla. — Medicare fraud scams are on the rise, and one Tulsa woman said scammers targeted her.
It's a common mishap to fall for a scheme, and with relentless scammers, it can happen to anyone.
“I realized what I had done,” Janet Chapin, a fraud victim said. “I was so aggravated with myself."
Chapin is warning others about Medicare card scammers on the prowl, ready to steal your personal information.
"Friday morning, I received a call,” Chapin said.
She said it sounded like a solicitation call, so she hung up, but when the phone rang again Chapin found herself pulled into a tricky scheme.
"She said immediately, ‘Don't hang up. I’m not selling anything. I just need to verify the information on your Medicare card,’" Chapin said.
Caught off guard, Chapin answered a series of questions. She confirmed her name, address, and Medicare card number. However, when the questions got even more personal, she realized something was up.
"She said, 'How often do you go to the doctor?'" said Chapin.
The scammer tracked down Chapin’s physician and the dates of her previous appointments.
"When it first started, I said, ‘Why do you need this information?’ She said, ‘Well, we're issuing our 2021 Medicare cards,’” Chapin stated.
The fraudster then said Medicare is replacing paper cards with plastic ones. Emma Fletcher with the Federal Trade Commission said this is a red flag.
“Government imposter scams are actually among the most common scams that are reported to us,” Fletcher said. “It's very common unfortunately."
Fletcher said agencies like Medicare never call people out of the blue asking for information or money.
"Another thing to be aware of, you really can't trust Caller ID, and many people don't know that spoofing Caller ID is one of the most important tactics,” Fletcher said.
She adds giving away your personal information puts you at risk of identity theft and could even place false charges on your Medicare.
If you feel like you've fallen for a scam, report it. To do that, go to www.ftc.gov/complaint, or call 1-800-Medicare and report it that way.
Make sure to notify Medicare immediately if you see concerning charges to your insurance. Also, never give out any personal information over the phone, including your social security number. If someone asks you to confirm the number, hang up and call Medicare about the situation.
Another scam concerning Medicare to be alert about is the rise in “back brace” scams. The FTC said scammers are posing as Medicare officials, targeting recipients through television ads and mail, and asking for people’s information.
The scam offers “free or low-cost” back and knee braces. For more on this scam and how to spot it, CLICK HERE.
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