Seniors being scammed by someone pretending to be from Medicare
A Berkshire County resident was scammed by someone pretending to be from Medicare. According to the Office of Inspector General, cases like this are extremely common. YNN's Berkshire County reporter Madeleine Rivera tells us how you can avoid becoming a victim.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
BERKSHIRE COUNTY, Mass. -- What began as a simple phone call turns out to be a mess for a Berkshire County senior.
Pearl Mullett, President of North Adams Triad, said, "A gentleman on the phone said that he was calling for Medicare and that Medicare was offering all kinds of free supplies. And he says that all I need is your information, your name, your address and your social security."
Mullett’s friend, whose identity we're not revealing, is the victim of health care fraud.
“She immediately called Medicare. They told her it was a scam and she was just devastated. It was terrible,” Mullett said.
A spokesperson for the Office of the Inspector General says these cases are extremely common.
“I have received several calls like that already and I listen for a while just to see what they have to say and then I hang up,” said Virginia Cariddi, a North Adams Housing Authority resident.
October 15th marked the beginning of open enrollment for Medicare and will last until December 7th. This can be a very vulnerable period of time for seniors as they review plans and get overwhelmed by the range of options they might have. Scammers might take advantage of this, offering ways to make things simpler, but actually tricking them out of their money.
But you can avoid being a victim by following these steps. According to the Office of the Inspector General, be suspicious of anyone who offers free items or services, check your Medicare summary notice and do not accept things you did not order.
Cariddi said, “We don't tell anyone about it, you know. I don't know if we should call or what.”
“It's hard for an older person. They're so frightened and embarrassed because they did give out the information,” Mullett said.
Victims of health care fraud can report incidents to their local police departments or contact the Office of Inspector General's office at 1-800-HHS-Tips.