The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is out with a new warning for the elderly about scammers.
According to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, 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 consumers’ hard-earned money away from them,” Pai told Fox News in a Monday interview.
Pai said sometimes the voice on the other end of the phone is a recording, but often it’s a real person. 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 said.
Last year Medicare patients began receiving cards with unique numbers in place of Social Security numbers. Spoofers are calling to get access to 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 said 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.
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If you are concerned about a call you received, you can reach out to Medicare 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visit the Medicare website.
For the full warning, visit the FCC’s website.