Seniors targeted by Medicare scheme

Seniors targeted by Medicare scheme

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Lola Coffman takes a number of prescription medications for hypertension and a number of other ailments. Lola Coffman takes a number of prescription medications for hypertension and a number of other ailments.
"He wanted my Medicare card number and my Social Security number," Coffman said. "I'm not going to give nothing like that out." "He wanted my Medicare card number and my Social Security number," Coffman said. "I'm not going to give nothing like that out."

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

HALLS (WATE) - The Better Business Bureau in East Tennessee and across the country has received calls from seniors being targeted for Medicare fraud.
 
What people report is the caller identifies himself as being from Medicare and makes an offer of "free" items.
 
Lola Coffman of Halls is a severe diabetic and monitors her blood glucose closely to maintain proper blood sugar levels.

Coffman takes a number of prescription medications for hypertension and a number of other ailments.

While Medicare and supplemental plans cover most of her prescription drug and medical expenses, her interest was piqued when a man called offering her free testing kits.

"He says he's from Medicare and he wants to give me one of those blood machines where you test your blood," Coffman said. "He said, it's free, no cost to you whatsoever."

But there was a catch.

"He wanted my Medicare card number and my Social Security number," she said. "I'm not going to give nothing like that out."
   
Remember, neither Medicare nor Social Security will call asking for personal information, especially your personal numbers, which they already have on file.

"A lot of seniors don't realize that their Medicare claim number is their Social Security number. So when someone asks for that, they're really asking for your Social Security number. She was lucky enough to put the two together and realize they were asking for information that could put her in jeopardy," said Kathryn Weichel, a Senior Financial Group advisor.

Many of the people who target the elderly are aggressive and good at what they do. The best bet is to not carry on a conversation at all with the caller.    

6 On Your Side has gone over this information before, but the scam artists continue to make the calls, because they continue to make money off unsuspecting victims. 


If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email ddare@wate.com.

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