In the digital age, hacking and fraud are increasing, and seniors are especially vulnerable to the latest scams. Protect yourself by being aware of the newest ways scammers will try to trick you.
Medicare scams are rampant during open enrollment. Here are signs to be aware of:
- Promises of free items or services: Scammers will offer valuable medical equipment, ask for your Medicare number, and then use that information to file high-cost Medicare claims in your name.
- Pressure to switch Medicare plans: A scammer may say you’re “pre-approved” for a new health care or drug plan with lower premiums or better benefits.
- Notices to renew or upgrade your Medicare card: A fraudster may say you need to activate, renew, or upgrade your Medicare card. They may ask for your Medicare number to “verify” your account, or ask you to pay a processing fee.
- Threats to cancel your coverage: You may receive a call stating there’s a problem with your Medicare account and that your benefits will be canceled if you don’t immediately verify your personal information or join a new plan.
- Claims you’re eligible for a refund: Changes in your plan will not result in Medicare calling you to offer a refund.
If you are unsure if the person who called you is someone to be trusted, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). You can also call this number if you believe you’ve been involved in a Medicare scam.
The Administration for Community Living’s Eldercare Locator and Disability Information & Access Line (DIAL) are trusted resources that help connect older adults and people with disabilities with resources in their community. Recently, Eldercare Locator has noted a significant increase in people reporting scams such as:
- Callers claiming to be from “Eldercare Locator,” “Social Security,” or “Medicare.”
- Callers asking for personal information such as a Social Security number or banking information — or demanding payment, threatening jail time, or fines.
- Harassment, including repeat calls from the same number.
Here are some important reminders to share:
- The government will never call out of the blue and ask for a Social Security number or Medicare number.
- The government will never ask for payment by gift card or wire transfer.
- Social Security numbers cannot be suspended.
Older adults who are targeted by scams and fraud can call the Department of Justice’s National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311).
Paid Leave Oregon
Some Oregonians have reported getting a letter saying they’ve been approved for paid leave benefits from work that they never applied for. That’s a warning sign a person’s identity has been compromised. Keep an eye on your credit report for suspicious activity. Report any letters for benefits you didn’t apply for at https://paidleave.oregon.gov/resources/fraud or call (877) 668-3204.
Facebook scams are prevalent. Here are the latest Facebook scams to avoid:
- Fake Facebook prizes and giveaways: Fraudsters create Facebook pages for well-known companies or individuals and offer “free” money or prizes in exchange for personal information or upfront payments to cover “fees.”
- Facebook quiz scams that steal your personal information: These quizzes ask fun questions that are actually common cybersecurity questions for banks.
- Hacked or cloned accounts asking for 2FA codes: Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security measure that requires you to input your password in addition to a code sent to your phone or email. Hackers who are trying to get into your account will pretend to be one of your Facebook friends and may ask you to give them the code. This will allow them to get into your account, change your password, and lock you out.
- Romance scams over Facebook Messenger: Scammers create fake personas and then reach out to you over Facebook to start a romantic relationship. After the scammer has gained your trust, they ask you to send money — and then disappear once you do.
To report the scam to Facebook, go to the impersonator’s page. Look for three dots on the right side. Select Find Support or Report Page, then Scams and Fake Pages.
Steps to Take to Protect Yourself and Report Scams
- Add your phone number to the Do Not Call Registry by calling (888) 382-1222 from the telephone number you want to add to the list.
- If you continue to receive unwanted calls, you can file a complaint with the FTC online at www.reportfraud.ftc.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222.
- For financial scams, call the Oregon Attorney General’s Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Division at 877-877-9392.
- For Medicare scams, call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) or the Senior Medicare Patrol Resource Center by calling 1-877-808-2468.
Other Scams To Be Aware Of:
Read more about other scams that have made the rounds in recent years in our blog series: