Criminals these days will take any opportunity possible to steal your identity to use to their own advantage. This is common when new changes in government policy occur. It’s not surprising that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act has already proven to be a means for these offenders to attempt to gain valuable personal information.
The State of Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Authority (DORA) has made it known that there have been reports made to Colorado’s Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) that invalid telephone calls related to the new health care reform bill are being made. Many of the intended victims are senior citizens.
The call is placed by a fictitious government official, who already knows personal information including names, addresses and telephone numbers, and occasionally bank account details. It is then stated that the insured is in need of a new Medicare or national medical insurance card due to the changes being implemented. The caller then solicits a social security number or bank information, including account and routing numbers, in order to finalize the transaction for the insured. Sadly, once this personal information is gained, it is all too easy for the caller to use it for malice.
Identity thieves use this information to make fraudulent credit card charges, apply for credit cards in the victim’s name, and even take out loans. If you are ever asked for personal information over the telephone, it is wise to be wary. If a reputable company is calling, they should already have all the information they need, and have no reason to ask for details like social security or driver’s license numbers.
If you are a recipient of a suspicious call like this one, take the time to report it. For Medicare scams specifically, you can make a report to the Colorado SMP fraud hotline at (800) 503-5190. (Medicare does not contact their beneficiaries by telephone.) If it is another scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at (877) FTC-HELP or www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. You should also report the incident to your local police, alert your bank, and monitor your credit report closely for evidence of fraud.