(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today warned Ohioans to beware of callers who pretend to be from Medicare and ask for personal information.
“If you receive an unexpected call saying you need a new Medicare card and must provide your Social Security number, it’s a scam,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We want Ohioans to be especially aware of these phony calls during this final week of Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period.”
Several Ohio consumers have reported potential Medicare scams to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. While many consumers recognize the scam and hang up on the caller, others do not realize the ploy until they have already provided their personal information. Medicare will not cold call consumers and ask for personal information.
In a typical version of the scam, a con artist calls a consumer falsely claiming that the consumer needs a new Medicare card or must verify enrollment. The caller asks for the consumer’s Social Security number and bank account number. Consumers who provide their information put themselves at risk for identity theft.
A request for account verification is a classic sign of a phishing scam, in which identity thieves try to trick consumers into revealing personal information, such as their Social Security number or bank account information.
Although callers may claim to be Medicare representatives, these calls are in no way associated with Medicare. When in doubt, consumers should hang up and contact Medicare directly, using a number they know to be valid. Consumers who give out personal information in connection with suspicious phone calls should file a police report, notify their bank, and contact the credit reporting bureaus.
Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7, 2011. For information about open enrollment, Ohioans should contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 800-686-1578 or www.insurance.ohio.gov
To report a potential scam, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov
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Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840
Eve Mueller: 614-466-3840