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Telephone scam targeting Medicare recipients

Posted May 18, 2010

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— The North Carolina attorney general put out a warning Tuesday about a telephone scam targeting Medicare recipients.

Approximately 20 people over the past two weeks have contacted the Consumer Protection Division of the state Attorney General's Office reporting calls from Medicare, asking for personal financial information, such as checking account numbers.

The calls show up on caller ID as a legitimate Medicare office telephone number, but the attorney general's office says government agencies and businesses will never call or send e-mail asking for financial information.

“Scammers keep coming up with new ways to trick you into sharing your personal financial information,” Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement. “Don’t fall for it, even if the calls claim to be from a government agency or company you know.”

In such cases, it's best to hang up and call the agency or company back at a telephone number known to be legitimate – such as one listed in the phone book or recent account statement.

Other tips for avoiding such scams include:

  • Never share personal financial information with someone who calls, sends e-mails or visits uninvited.
  • Caller ID can be manipulated to show different telephone numbers. Never assume that it’s OK to give out personal information because the call appears to come from a valid number.
  • E-mails that appear to come from an official e-mail address can also be fakes, even if they provide links to what looks like the company’s or agency’s real website. Don’t respond to the e-mail or click on any links.

The attorney general's office recommends that people who believe they might have been victimized by such a scam to contact their bank or credit card company for further guidance. They can also report a scam by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by going to the North Carolina Department of Justice website.

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