The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 2, 2013

Beware: Medicare scam attempted in Limestone County

By Lora Scripps

— A Lester woman wants to warn other residents of a Medicare scam taking place in Limestone County.

Wanda Stinnett of Lester said she received a telephone call from a woman speaking with a foreign accent and claiming to be with Medicare at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“She informed me that Medicare was sending out new cards and she needed to verify information,” Stinnett said. “She read off my home address and wanted to know if it was correct.”

Stinnett told the caller that she wasn’t going to verify any information and that she knew the call was a scam.

“She had my correct mailing address,” Stinnett said. “That information isn’t in the phone book.”

Stinnett said she recently read about Medicare scams in Better Business Bureau publication. Her goal is to alert others not to give out information to imposters.

Most imposters want to obtain bank account information, a Medicare number, Social Security number and date of birth to steal a senior’s identity, according to the BBB, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Senior Medicare Patrol.

The FBI suggests seniors provide no information to callers they have not dealt with in person. 

Medicare does not make telephone calls regarding health care coverage. The organization typically sends a letter on official letterhead when a situation arises and information needs to be obtained.

Seniors are also advised to not give personal information to any unknown caller.

Stinnett said she hung up on the imposter and called the Limestone County Sheriff’s Department and Federal Trade Commission (although the FTC was closed due to the government shutdown).

“I want to spread the word,” Stinnett said. “I want people to know about the scam. The more it is talked about, the more it will spread.

Seniors can also report Medicare scams to the Better Business Bureau at 256-355-2226 and Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-800-243-5463.