GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A phone scam targeting senior citizens with Medicare cards has made its way to West Michigan.
24 Hour News 8 received several tips via ReportIt this week about the phony calls that claim to be from the federal Medicare office.
In the scam, the person on the other end of the line -- who often has a heavy accent -- says a new Medicare card is in the mail. In the meantime, they say, you need to set up direct deposit so Medicare funds can be deposited into your bank account.
Giving up any of bank information -- even just the name of your bank -- may give the scammers the information they need to steal from you.
The Better Business Bureau says the best thing to do is just hang up. Do not engage in conversation.
"What we hear of more this days is almost a mean-spirited approach where they attempt to get you. Your wits are lost, and you give them something you didn't mean to in terms of information," BBB of West Michigan President Phil Catlett said. "You may get 20 calls in a row. You may get 50 calls in a row."
Scammers might also ask you to verify your identity to get the new card and will ask for your Medicare card number -- which is the same as your Social Security number -- or other personal information, the BBB says.
Personal information should only be given to doctors or other Medicare-approved providers, the BBB says.
The government will never call about your Medicare account.
Medicare.gov on fraud, identity theft and other problems
Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Hotline: 1.877.438.4338
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