N.D. Poolman Says Beware of Phone Scams Surrounding Medicare

June 27, 2006

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman today warned seniors and other Medicare recipients to be on the look out for telephone scams. Callers, posing as representatives of fictitious companies such as Pharma Corp., National Medical Office, Medicare National Office and National Medicare, are asking for bank information or telling beneficiaries they can provide a new Medicare card for a fee. Callers asked Medicare beneficiaries for bank account numbers that the callers use to electronically withdraw the money. The new Medicare card or prescription drug plan they claim to be selling is not legitimate.

“Although these scams do not appear to be widespread in North Dakota, It is really important for seniors and other Medicare recipients to be aware of these scams and to do what they can to protect themselves,” Poolman said.

According the release issued by Poolman’s office, the dollar amount requested by scammers is usually $379, but cases have also occurred where the callers asked for $350 or $365. Nationally, nearly 250 cases like this have been referred to federal law enforcement officials.

“It is important to remember that it is against Medicare’s rules to call a person with Medicare and ask for bank account or other personal information, or cash payment, over the telephone,” Poolman said. “No beneficiary should ever provide that kind of information to someone who calls them. Such calls must be placed by the beneficiaries themselves or handled by a follow-up letter to which the beneficiary may choose to reply.

Poolman cautions that if a senior receives a call like this, they should immediately call the North Dakota Insurance Department at (888)575.6611 and report it.

Source: North Dakota Insurance Department

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