Our office frequently hears about phone call scams targeting senior citizens. Previously, we have warned about imposters posing as grandchildren to try to get you to send them money to get out of a jam. While these scams continue, we also wanted to share a few other scams that have been popping up, impersonating your insurance company, Medicare or Social Security.
Several consumers have recently reported to our office receiving calls from “Kansas Insurance,” stating that they need your bank account information, as they are no longer going to take checks as payments for your monthly premiums. Remember, never give your bank account information over the phone, because you don’t know who is on the other end of the line. The scam artist may even “spoof” the caller ID so that it looks like it’s coming from a legitimate insurance company.
Even if you think the call might be coming from your insurance company, it’s wise to tell them you’ll call back and hang up the phone. Then go look at your last bill and call the phone number printed on the statement. That way you’ll know you’re talking to your insurance company, not an imposter.
Similarly, scammers have been impersonating government agencies, particularly Medicare and Social Security, which frequently interact with senior citizens. Often these callers are not trying to steal your money, but access your information. They will try to get your Medicare or Social Security card numbers in order to steal your identity. With this information, the scammers can falsely file for Medicare or Social Security benefits, and even file false tax returns.
These government agencies will never ask you for personal information over the phone or by email. If Medicare or Social Security really needs to get information from you, they will send you a letter requesting information. If you do receive a call, and think it might be from a legitimate agency, ask them to send you a letter detailing what information they need.
You can report these and other scams to the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division by calling (800) 432-2310. You can also file a complaint and find more tips for staying safe from scams on our website, www.InYourCornerKansas.org.