The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is out with a new warning for the elderly. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in an interview with Fox News on Monday says scammers are finding new and sophisticated ways to collect Medicare information.
“Some of these scammers are looking for any vulnerability they can in order to get some American consumer's hard-earned money away from them,” Pai told Fox News.
Pai says sometimes the voice on the other end of the phone is a recording, but often times it’s a real person. He says spoofers are calling from phone numbers in other countries, then masking the number to look like a local number. Sometimes the incoming numbers are one or two digits off from real medical office numbers in an effort to confuse consumers.
“We want to drive out the profit motive for some of these scammers in order to stop these scams from happening in the first place,” Pai told Fox News.
Last year Medicare patients began receiving cards with unique numbers in place of Social Security numbers. Spoofers are calling for the new numbers on the card, hoping to commit Medicare fraud.
Medicare will never call patients out of the blue asking for personal information over the phone. Pai says his team at the FCC is working on new safeguards to prevent spoofing, but those details will not be made available until later this fall.
If you are concerned about a call you received, you can reach out to Medicare 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visit www.medicare.gov/fraud
For the full warning from the FCC, visit https://www.fcc.gov/older-americans-and-medicare-card-scams