A Medicare scam that had been concentrated in the Anchorage area seems to be spreading to other parts of the state, including Southeast Alaska.
Nila Morgan from the Medicare Information Office in Anchorage said they got a report from someone in Ketchikan’s Ward Cove area reporting the same scam.
In this scam, the caller contacts people on Medicare and tells them that they need a new Medicare card because of regulations in the new Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare.
“They don’t need to get a new card because of the Affordable Care Act,” she said. “In fact, there’s other scammers out there that are telling people you need to get a brand new plan, but it’s actually illegal for an agent to sell a plan to someone who has Medicare already.”
Morgan said these scammers first start confirming information that anyone could easily find out, and then they ask for a Medicare card number or bank account information.
“We tell people that Medicare will never contact them by phone, by coming to their door or by email requesting personal information,” she said.
Morgan said the best response to one of these calls is to simply hang up. If the caller ID information is available, that would be helpful, but the most important thing is to not give out any information.
“Some people, even though they know they’re not supposed to give out information, these people are so excellent at what they do, that people will give it out anyway,” she said. “So I often tell people to have a little script by their phone that says I do not give out personal information over the phone.”
Morgan also recommends that people screen their calls, and not answer if they don’t recognize the phone number. If someone is called by one of these suspected scammers, the Medicare Information Office wants to know about it. Call them at 1-800-478-6065.