Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

May 6, 2013

Look out for phone scams

The Daily Iowegian

---- — Many Medicare recipients receive phone calls from individuals wanting to discuss their Medicare. In rural Iowa, we tend to be very trusting of the people who call us. Seneca wants everyone to be careful about what they share with unknown callers. In the last few weeks, Joan and I have heard of several suspicious calls; callers claimed to be from Medicare offering news about Medicare changes or new Medicare cards or wanting to make home visits. Medicare officials never call you to give you news or offer a new card.

Iowans are wise and getting very cautious about cold calls that mention Medicare. We just need to keep staying one step ahead! That means if a caller mentions Medicare, be sure to have them tell you exactly where they are calling from and what their purpose is.

• If they say they are from Medicare or Social Security and want to give you news or a new Medicare card — this is almost certainly a scam attempt.

• If they ask for any personal information such as Medicare claim number, credit card information, checking account information, hang up. It is ok to be rude.

• If they say they are with your Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan and you are worried about providing information over the phone or question if the call is legitimate, tell the caller that you are going to hang up. Then call the number on you member ID card to verify what the call was about.

• If they say they are with an insurance company, and you don’t have a policy with that company, ask them what they’re selling, so you can decide if you want to visit with them. If you have a complaint with the behavior of an insurance salesperson, call SMP to learn who to contact to file a complaint.

You may contact Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol at (800) 423-2449 or Seneca Area Agency on Aging at (641) 682-2270 or (800) 642-6522 to report a suspicious call or learn where to file complaints.

For more information on this or any senior or caregiver related issues, call us or visit our website at