Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fraud calls to Senior - Message from the Better Business Bureau

Subject: fraud calls to seniors
A few weeks ago I sent you some information about the calls seniors are receiving about both free medial alerts and new Medicare cards.  I wanted to share a bit more information.
The free medical alert is actually a phone recording from someone named John who I understand sounds very friendly and very nice.  I have not spoken to anyone who has gotten far enough into the call to actually provide information so I do not know what they are looking for in the end.  But this morning, I got a report of a call from a Houston woman that now John is calling about the need to get her a free "hurricane safety kit."  The tricks are endless.
As to the new Medicare cards.  Benes report that the callers, with accents, often have alot of information on them, their phone numbers, their addresses, sometimes their bank name or the bank routing number, and even the account number.  They might just have a little information and are asking for more.  But I had a call this morning from a senior in Lamar County, the lady said he had both her routing number and her bank account number.  I questioned her pretty thoroughly so I think they did have all of this information.  In a case like this, they should close their bank account and open a new one with a different number immediately.  They can change their direct deposit by calling SSA at 1 (800) SSA-1213 (1-800-772-1213).
With the roll-out of the health insurance exchanges at the same time of open enrollment, we can expect the scams to pick up speed with all different twists and turns so the confusion will increase.  I have attached a recent newspaper article I wrote for a column I have in a Houston paper.  It talks about telemarketing calls and developing a script to handle these calls.  I have printed index size cards with a short script on one side and red flags to watch for on the other side in hopes I can get seniors to put this by their phone to remind them to think when talking to a telemarketer.  I am more than happy to send you any amount of these cards for you to hand out at events if you would like them.
Barbara McGinity, LMSW
Program Director
Tel: 713-341-6184
Fax: 713-341-6192
The Better Business Bureau Education Foundation
1333 West Loop South, Suite 1200
Houston, Texas 77027

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