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Medicare scam reported in area

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

To improve security of client information, Medicare is in the process of issuing new cards without Social Security numbers. But that’s not keeping scammers from rushing to victimize clients before the new cards arrive.

New River Valley Agency on Aging has received several reports in the New River Valley of Medicare clients being contacted by scammers attempting to obtain their Social Security numbers.

Elizabeth Wray of AOA said scammers are calling Medicare clients, pretending to represent Medicare. The caller indicates there is a need to confirm the client’s card number, so the new card can be mailed to them.

Wray said Medicare doesn’t call a client requesting such information. In fact, she suggests never providing identifying information unless you make the call.

If a client falls for the scam, he or she is providing the scam artist with their Social Security number, which can then be used in a variety of ways to steal the client’s identity and funds.

Medicare clients need to be extra cautious with their identifying information. She says it should never be given out to anyone who calls you residence, even if the caller identification indicates the number is registered to the agency that claims to be calling.

Scammers are now able to “spoof” legitimate numbers, making it appear the agency they wish to spoof is actually calling. If the call seems to be legitimate, call the agency back, using a telephone number from literature you know to be legitimate, not a number the caller gives.

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