Delaware officials say Medicare scammers are trying a new trick.
About 17 percent of Delaware residents are in the Medicare program. In recent months, crooks have called some of those people pretending to be a government representative. They offer a new plastic Medicare card in exchange for your old, tattered paper card. To get the card, you have to give up your digits.
“Medicare never calls. They don’t sell you anything. It’s simply not what they do,” said Ginny Woodrow, volunteer services coordinator with Delaware’s Senior Medicare Patrol. “And if anybody’s on the phone, and they’re asking you for your Medicare number, your Social Security number, any kind of sensitive information, you can be absolutely sure it’s a scam.”
An 80-year-old New Castle woman shared her bank routing number.
“She thought that new plastic card would be fantastic, it wouldn’t fall apart in her wallet,” Woodrow said. “And she went ahead and gave the information. Thankfully she had heard about our program, I think, within 24 hours.”
The Senior Medicare Patrol is an effort to curb fraud and waste. Program staffers have a direct line to Medicare and can help older people report fraud attempts to the police and the Federal Trade Commission. Woodrow says it’s important to act fast to report a breach of a bank or credit card account.
In recent months, Delaware has also documented several fraud attempts by mail.