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Wednesday

April 2014

23

Watch out for Medicare phone scam

If you receive a phone call claiming that you need a replacement Medicare card, hang up. It is a scam.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) recently received a complaint on behalf of a senior who received a phone call from a group calling itself “Preferred Benefits to Seniors.”

By the end of the call, this consumer had turned over their bank account number to the caller, but was able to close her bank account before any money was stolen.

A number of consumers have complained on different scam-tracking websites about receiving similar calls from this group. In their complaints, consumers note that the caller often tells seniors that they need replacement Medicare cards. In order to process the new card, the caller asks to “verify” the senior’s personal information and asks for the senior’s bank account number.

The caller typically provides a toll-free number for any future inquiries, but the number is simply linked to an answering service and no additional information on the group is made available.

Remember that representatives with the Medicare program will never call you to verify personal information. If you receive a call about a replacement Medicare card, hang up immediately. If you or a family member receives a similar call and turns banking information over to the caller, you should immediately contact your bank and inform them of the situation. The bank may choose to close the account and issue you a new account number.

For more information on consumer topics, visit http://datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an e-mail to datcphotline@wisconsin.gov or call the hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.

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