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New scams targeting Medicare Part D

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Seniors in Oregon and Washington have been hit with a new Medicare scam. A fake company called National Medical Office in Washington, D.C. has been contacting seniors in these states saying they need bank account information to send Medicare cards to those being called.

The Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging (IAAAA) is letting local residents know that with Part D open enrollment around the corner, dishonest individuals who claim to be Medicare representatives can easily take advantage of people.

According to IAAAA CEO Melissa Durr, a Medicare card scam started recently in the state of Washington and then spread to Oregon.

"According to our nationwide Aging network, people were being called by a company called National Medical Office in Washington DC. This company does not exist. These imposters are calling seniors saying they need to get account information to send them their Medicare card," explained Durr.

"The callers say they cannot ask for your Social Security number but try to get your personal info," she said adding that the callers then ask where the older adults bank and then look up the account routing number.

"Once they have your routing number, then they try to get the rest of your bank account information. Our report said that if older adults didn't give the information, the caller would get very irate and proceed to threaten the individual."

So far, no charges have been filed for the incidents reported. Durr added that Medicare does not call their beneficiaries.

Glenda Parks, Information and Referral Specialist with Area 7 Agency on Aging, told the Banner Graphic that they have not had any reports of any type of fraud recently.

"We've not seen anything and we would definitely know. If people do receive calls, they need to call us and let us know," said Parks.

Area 7 serves Putnam County along with the surrounding counties of Clay, Vigo, Vermillion, Owen and Sullivan.

Reports of fraud or attempted fraud should be reported to the Medicare Hotline at 800-447-8477, by e-mail to hhstips@oig.hhs.gov or by mail to the Office of the Inspector General, HHS Tips Hotline, PO Box 23489, Washington, DC 20026.

Persons receiving a phone call from anyone claiming to be from the National Medical Office in Washington should ask for a phone number to call them back and notify Medicare by calling 800-633-4227 or contact your local Area on Agency at 800-986-3505.

Parks also provided additional tips to help older adults and persons with disabilities detect and prevent being victims of fraud.

Do not to sign anything you don't understand have an attorney or trusted advisor to review it. Stay socially active, isolation increase your risk of becoming a victim.

Don't give out your credit card or bank account numbers over the telephone or Internet unless you initiate the transaction. Shred your mail solicitations, bank records or any other discarded documents that contain personal information.

Durr provided a last bit of advice, "Be aware of scams; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," she said.



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