Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

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January 24, 2013

Beware of Medicare Scam

Knoxville —  

Iowa’s Senior Medicare Patrol has issued a warning that scammers posing as Medicare officials are phoning Iowa’s seniors and attempting to visit them in their homes.  They are trying to obtain personal information to commit financial fraud.  Their hook is to convince the potential victim that they have new and critical information about their Medicare benefits.    

Deb Yankey, State Coordinator for Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol, says, “Watch out for a caller who says they want to bring details about a new Medicare Summary Notice or deliver a new Medicare card to you.  Medicare officials do NOT phone seniors to discuss changes and they do NOT visit your home.  It’s shrewd to be rude – hang up the phone and don’t open your door to a stranger.”  

Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) asks for Iowans to report if they receive this type of call, to 800-423-2449.  SMP will report directly to Medicare, how these calls are affecting Iowans.    However, if you give out your bank information to a person you suspect is a scammer, the first and most important thing to do is immediately call your bank and local law enforcement.    

These calls have been received by seniors in Polk and Marion counties within the last few days.  Senior Medicare Patrol expects that calls will spread statewide.  The scammers have discovered that Medicare will soon be sending a redesigned “Medicare Summary Notice,” which is the explanation of benefits sent to persons on Medicare after every payment for their Medicare benefits.  Scammers typically use the occurrence of a change in a government program, to design new schemes. 

 Iowans will begin to see the new Medicare notices in their mail over the next several months.  Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol is a project of Iowa’s Area Agencies on Aging.  Staff and trained volunteers are available to conduct free community programs to help Iowans get acquainted with the new notices and be alert to potential Medicare fraud or identity theft.  Contact SMP at 800-423-2449.    

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