MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With the pandemic on everyone’s mind, especially seniors, scammers are now preying on people concerned about their health and Medicare coverage.
Seniors across the country are receiving robocalls that claim to be from Medicare.READ MORE: Tracking The Tropics: New Tropical Storm Formation Possible This Weekend
Some calls are from people claiming to be a “patient advocates,” giving warnings like: “If you do not act soon, then Medicare may label you as ineligible for coverage.”
But it’s a scam, according to the AARP. The fake calls have hit more than 60 million Americans.
“These are sophisticated criminals,” said Kathy Stokes, AARP’s director of fraud prevention programs. “In this process the caller is asking for your Medicare number.”
Scam artists may sell that Medicare number to other criminals or use it to file fraudulent claims.READ MORE: Report: Miami-Dade School District Misused $6M For Driver’s Ed Programs
Authorities in Ohio said residents there are getting a different fake Medicare call.
“They’ll actually have the appropriate Medicare number and the name, to go along with it and they’re telling them they need a new card,” said Columbiana County Sheriff Brian Mclaughlin.
The Federal Trade Commission said scammers are often trying to collect personal information, like in this call: “We are sending out the new cards and I need your billing information to keep your coverage active.”
Medicare never randomly calls looking for money or offering test kits.MORE NEWS: Brian Laundrie, Person Of Interest In Disappearance Of Girlfriend, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, Now Missing
“That’s a scam because that’s not how it works. Your doctor has to prescribe durable medical equipment or surgeries or test kits. Without that prescription you can’t get that stuff,” Stokes explained.