Better Business Bureau warns elderly, loved ones about scam

Crooks con Medicare recipients into giving out personal information

Published On: Jan 14 2013 10:52:28 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 15 2013 08:25:08 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Better Business Bureau  is warning the elderly and their loved ones that identity thieves are  targeting them. The crooks ask them for personal information  in order to get the person who answers a new Medicare card.

Royce Robbins  with Seniors vs. Crime said these scammers are becoming more and more brazen and are skilled at keeping seniors on the phone in order to build their trust.  

Robbins said Medicare officials will  never call  people and ask for banking information and say anyone who gets one of these calls needs to hang up right away.

"The difficulty here is this is one in a chain of different scams -- all of them aimed at getting personal information -- and particularly banking information from a senior," said Robbins.

According to the BBB, seniors from across the United States, including in Northeast Florida, are falling victim to scam phone calls saying their new Medicare card is in the mail. The caller then tells victims that they need to set up a direct deposit so that Medicare funds can be put into their bank account.

"It could be in Florida today and Texas tomorrow.... so when you divulge personal information," said Channel 4 Crime Analyst Ken Jefferson.  "You're making it a buffet for all of the thieves out there who want to assume your identity."

Experts with Seniors vs. Crime said if the caller asks for any numbers on Medicare cards, people should hang up immediately.

"They never call you at home. For any purpose whatsoever, you will never get a call from Medicare, ever ever," said Robbins. "The main point to remember is to not be authoritative and demanding. It needs to be an education process so the senior feels like they've been informed and not being talked down to and told what to do."

If you know an elderly person who needs help understanding this scam contact Seniors vs. Crime at 904-721-6516 or visit their website: seniorsvscrime.com.