Sheriff warns citizens of new Medicare scam


By Blythe Alspaugh - balspaugh@sidneydailynews.com



SIDNEY — The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office wants citizens to be aware of a recent scam that has hit at least two Shelby County residents.

“We’re trying to make our citizens aware of scams out there. Never give out any personal information — name, date of birth, social security card, phone number — don’t give anything out, because what they’ll do is exploit that, and they’ll use that to obtain any kind of services,” Sheriff Jim Frye said.

Frye said the scammers in question are calling Medicare customers — superficially, the elderly — and telling them they need a new card. In an incident Frye handled, a citizen had received a call wanting to give her a new Medicare card. The scammer wanted to know the citizen’s name and their Medicare number. Frye called Medicare and was referred to part of their agency.

“They told me that no one from Medicare will ever call a Medicare subscriber to give them a new card. That’s always on behalf of the subscriber,” Frye said.

Frye said according to Medicare, there is black market for Medicare numbers, and scammers will sell those numbers. The other part of it is, a person will use someone else’s Medicare number to attempt to get services.

“This is something new to us. I had never heard of this before,” Frye said.

If anyone receives a call asking for Medicare information, they are advised to hang up and contact investigator Angie Jones at 937-498-2116. Jones is working on investigations related to elderly crimes.

Medicare recommends card holders treat their card like a credit card, and reminds card holders of the following:

• Medicare will never contact anyone for a Medicare number or other personal information, unless they have been given permission in advance;

• Medicare will never call to sell anything;

• Don’t give away Medicare numbers to people calling and promising things;

• Medicare will never make home visits;

• Medicare cannot enroll anyone over the phone unless they have been contacted first.

Generally, Frye said, if a citizen hasn’t contacted an agency to illicit a call, nine out of 10 times, it’s a scam. If there’s doubt that a call is legitimate, citizens should hang up and call the company themselves. If a citizen thinks they’ve fallen victim to a scam, they are advised to contact the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

“I called and gave (Medicare) the information on the subscriber, and they flagged their account. They will investigate it and they will keep an eye on their account to see if someone tries to use that number,” Frye said. “It’s important, even if they don’t think they’re going to lose anything as a result of it, call in, and what we can do, is reach out.”

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By Blythe Alspaugh

balspaugh@sidneydailynews.com

The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.

The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.