If someone calls you claiming to be from Medicare and wants your personal information, you're right to be suspicious.
When Diane Baranowksi of Franklin saw the number, "661-407-2197,” she didn’t recognize it. But with her husband in the hospital, Baranowksi figured the call could be important.
“He asked me if I had received my new plastic Medicare card and I said ‘no’ and he said, ‘Oh well, the government is changing over to all plastic cards,’ and I thought well that makes sense. Then he started asking how I spelled my name to validate what he thought he had,” said Baranowksi.
The caller started asking her more questions like how to spell her full name to confirm his information.
“When he asked about my birth date, that's when all the little tentacles went up in my brain,” she said.
Baranowksi hung up.
“I thought if he was truly from Medicare he would know the date of my birth,” she said.
Baranowksi is right. Bad actors pose as government officials over the phone and try get your personal information to commit identity theft or financial fraud.
According to Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection, Medicare imposter calls are nothing new, but the story the caller provided about upgrading the cards to plastic could be a new tactic scammers are using to target consumers.
“I do think that was a scam,” said Lara Sutherin with DATCP.
“Medicare is not going to call you out of the blue and ask you to confirm your identification to get a new card. That's just not going to happen,” said Sutherin.
“Medicare is not sending out new cards right now and if you're getting a solicitation for that, it's probably a scam,” she continued.
TODAY’S TMJ4 also reached out to a spokesperson for Medicare.
A spokesperson confirmed the cards are not being upgraded to plastic and provided the following link for ways to guard against fraud.
TODAY’S TMJ4 tried the 661 number where the call originated, but the call didn’t go through.
“They are probably targeting elderly people,” said Baranowksi.
“I really am concerned that elderly folks are going to get themselves in a whole heap of trouble,” she said