Our office recently has seen an uptick in complaints about phone callers who claim to be from Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Like many scams, these calls are nothing more than a ploy to try to get your personal information.
Often, the caller may seem to already know a lot about you. They may have all or part of your Medicare card number or Social Security Number. The caller usually asks you to confirm this information because they will be sending you a new card. They may give you the partial number they have, and ask you to give them the rest “to confirm your identity.” They may also ask for your bank account or routing number so that they can directly deposit your benefits. Once the callers have obtained your information, consumers are reporting to us that a withdrawal of about $500 is being made from the bank account.
This is just the latest version of a common scam called “phishing.” While the details vary, their goal is always the same – to get you to give away your personal information in order to access your money or steal your identity.
Here are some ways you can protect yourself from phishing scams:
· Beware of phone calls or emails that ask for personal information. Legitimate government agencies will not ask you for personal information over the phone or by email.
· Ask for information in writing. If Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security really do need to get information from you, they will send you a letter requesting information.
· Ask for a contact number. If you think the caller may be real, ask for their contact information so you can call them back. Look them up online to see if the number they give you really is to the agency they claim to be calling from, or ask a trusted friend or family member.
· Report the scams to our office. Our Consumer Protection Division staff members are trained to spot scams and identity theft.
Our office is here to help all Kansas consumers. If you have become the victim of one of these scams, or just have a question about whether a call might be a scam, you can call us at 1-800-432-2310. Visit our website at www.ag.ks.gov to file a complaint or learn more about how to protect yourself from scams.