SCAM NOTICE: To ensure the public is aware of ongoing scams that often occur during emergencies, we are posting different types of fraud schemes we have seen following emergency declarations like the COVID-19 pandemic or Hurricane Sandy. We recently wrote about “Grandparent” scams designed to prey on caring senior citizens. Frauds against the elderly have become so common that they are considered a primary “crime of the 21st century.”

In that same vein, today we caution the public to beware of health insurance fraud scams targeting senior citizens. These come in the form of a call or email from someone pretending to be a Medicare or Medicaid representative. They tell you they are issuing new ID cards or are updating medical records – the catch? They need your Medicare or Medicaid (CMS) number or other confidential information to issue a new ID card or update your account.

Don’t fall for it – the caller is trying to obtain your personal information and/or steal your identity! Legitimate government agency employees will never ask you for personal or confidential information over the phone, by e-mail or in person – This is an immediate red flag. For peace of mind, you can hang up and call these agencies to ensure your accounts are up to date.

The one common thread to every fraud scam is to get an unsuspecting person to voluntarily provide “personally identifiable information” (PII). Data like your DOB, Social Security number, bank account numbers, government benefit ID numbers, User ID or passwords, pin codes or otherwise. Obtaining this information is at the heart and soul of every fraud scheme. Be vigilant in protecting this information. Unfortunately, the elderly population is a ripe target for scammers because these citizens have money saved and good credit ratings from a lifetime of fiscal responsibility. #MCPONJ