Missoula-The Montana Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program has received a report of an apparent telephone scam in Eureka, Mont. that spoofed the Area IV Office on Aging’s number. Spoofing is where phone scammers use software to mask their real identities by displaying a fake telephone number, often to mislead people into thinking the call is from a reputable business or person. The caller attempted to get personal information under the guise of helping the recipient with their Medicare, including asking for their Social Security number.
“We expect more calls across the state. Medicare and your local SHIP Counselors would never initiate calls and ask for that information on the phone,” said Renee Labrie-Shanks, Montana SMP Program Manager. “Anyone calling to talk about changes to Medicare, including anything to do with the new Medicare cards, would be a scam.”
New Medicare cards with new numbers will be mailed to people on Medicare between April 2018 and April 2019, however they will be automatically mailed and no one will receive calls.
If you should receive a call from someone trying to collect your personal information, do not tell them anything, she advises. Instead, try to gather as much information as you can about the person calling, and then report the calls to your local SMP office by calling 1-800-551-3191. You can also call for more information regarding the new Medicare cards.
Montana SMP is a statewide program which fights healthcare fraud by educating older adults on how to protect, detect and report fraud. Missoula Aging Services administers the program through Area Agency partner organizations around the state.