Scam Alert: Watch out for phony Medicare callers

Published: Oct. 15, 2019 at 12:05 PM EDT
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Medicare open enrollment for 2020 began on Tuesday, and the Better Business Bureau is warning people to watch out for scammers who try to take advantage of the open enrollment season.

Scammers will target seniors during this confusing time to try to steal information and money.

In 2018, the BBB received more than 500 reports about scam calls claiming to be from Medicare representatives.

These calls may appear on caller ID as Medicare or Social Security Administration. Here are some of the most common versions of the scam:

- A medicare impersonator will call and offer something for free, such as a back or knee brace. The caller claims you have to share personal information to "confirm" your identity and get the free item.

- A caller may ask you to verify your new Medicare card, which was sent out between April 2018 and April 2019. They may claim that your new card is no good, and you need to tell them your number so they can send a new card.

- Scammers may claim that there is "suspicious activity" on your Medicare or Social Security accounts. They will try to trick you by saying you may lose your benefits or worse if you do not give them your information right away.

The BBB says Medicare will only call and ask for personal information in the following situations:

- A Medicare health or drug plan can call you if you are already a member of the plan. The agent who helped you join can also call you.

- A customer service representative from 1-800-MEDICARE can call you if you called and left a message or a representative said they would call you back.

- Medicare plan representatives are not allowed to call or come to your home without an invitation from you.

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