Seniors targeted in Medicare scam


VALLEY — A major scamming effort is underway targeting Medicare recipients and those eligible for services. The attack is being mounted on three fronts: mail; phone; and internet, and includes multiple tactics.

Telephone and email scams focus on the upcoming changes to Medicare accounts. In 2018 Social Security numbers will be dropped from the cards and replaced with numbers unique to Medicare. Fraudulent emails and calls focus on this change by requesting verification of current Medicare numbers as part of the process.

Medicare and Social Security DO NOT USE PHONE CALLS OR EMAIL TO COMMUNICATE. Letters are sent for this purpose and contain secure contact information for inquiries. Any calls or emails requesting Medicare numbers are scams.

Why are con artists attracted? Medicare represents a huge “cash cow” waiting to be milked by scammers. In 2015 Medicare covered 57 million people at an expense of $632 billion — 15 percent of the entire federal budget. Adding to the attraction is the reality that Medicare is often difficult to understand, complex and undergoing change, making it a playground for con artists.

As with all forms of fraud, the results of Medicare fraud can be personally and financially devastating. Contact appropriate authorities who deal with Medicare fraud: Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 or the local Senior Medical Patrol at South Central Colorado Seniors, 719-589-4511.