Targeting senior citizens is nothing new for scam artists, but the recent effort is more complex. The out-of-state callers seem legitimate because they know the name, doctor and medical condition of the person they're calling.
Maureen Widner, Resource Center Director for Aging and In-Home Services of Northeast Indiana said, "they do get little pieces of information and I'm not sure how they get the doctors information, but they use it to try and trick them into revealing information".
Aging and In-Home services of Northeast Indiana receives calls throughout the year about scams, but not the volume they've seen over the last 48 hours. They tracked the number used to the Seattle area, but we also found numbers used that were traced to various other states. We found only simple marketing messages when we contacted the numbers.
Mary Boyd of LaGrange is one of numerous people in Northeast Indiana that received a call. Like the other calls, a man with a foreign accent not only knew her doctor's name, but also about her diabetic condition. Even though Mary is on the Do Not Call List, she's received several calls from the number over the past week.
Mary Boyd said, "what really upset me was when they got my Doctor's number and it was wrong, they definitely have pieces of information"
The caller initially offers diabetic testing supplies and then seeks more personal information including a Medicare number that often doubles as a person's social security number.
Both the Attorney General's office and the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging have issued statewide fraud alerts about the practice.
Victims need to make sure to take the following steps,
1) Contact IAAAA's Senior Medicare Patrol at 317-205-9201
2) Contact your doctor's office and ask them not to approve requests for prescriptions for durable medical equipment.
3) File complaints with Attorney General's office and FTC
One of the more disturbing questions about this scam is how the callers obtained the personal medical information of so many Hoosiers. While this scam targets seniors, all taxpayers end up paying an alarming price for fraud.
Maureen Widner "$60 billion is lost in Medicare and Medicaid Fraud, we really encourage people to check their summary of Medicare services and make sure the services are listed correctly."
We know of a number of victims that did share their social security number. They need to immediately access the Attorney General's ID theft victim's kit.
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