The Denver District Attorney’s office has issued an alert regarding 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 root 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 sounds professional and authoritative, and if the beneficiary does not readily comply, an alleged “supervisor” is put on the line to exert additional pressure.
Always keep in mind that a Medicare representative will never contact you by phone or knock at your door. Additionally, 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.
Other tips from the Denver DA:
- 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: 1-800-503-5190. Be sure to document the event.
And if you experience what appears to be attempted fraud, call Denver DA’s Fraud Line: 720-913-917