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Medicare telephone scam targets elderly residents in Grand Rapids

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Posted at 9:55 AM, Feb 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-14 10:09:43-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Kent County Health Department is warning residents about a new Medicare telephone scam.

Medicare recipients have reportedly received calls from someone claiming to be a Medicare representative offering a free knee or back brace. The caller then asks the person to share personal information, such as a Social Security number, to confirm their identity.

The scam calls appear to come from the Kent County Health Department's main line at (616) 632-71000.

The department urges anyone who receives similar calls to hang up immediately. Authorities have been notified about the scam.

“We do not call residents and ask for Social Security numbers or any other sensitive personal or financial information,” said KCHD Director Adam London. “It is disheartening these scammers are using the KCHD’s phone number and impersonating Medicare representatives to target older residents.”

Residents should follow these tips:

  • Hang up. If someone calls asking for personal, health, credit card or other financial information or if

they ask for money, hang up. If you think the caller may be telling the truth, hang up and call a numberyou know is genuine. In this case, call Medicare at 800-633-4227.

  • Do not provide any financial payment. Scammers often threaten to take action against you if you do

not immediately pay or provide personal information. Government agencies will not threaten you forupfront payments and likely will contact you via mail.

  • Slow down and do your research. Scammers prey on fear and want you to act quickly. Before you

disclose any personal health information or issue payment, verify the business by researching itonline, search for customer reviews, etc.

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If someone calls or e-mails to offer you something free

or at a discounted price, it is likely a scam.