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McGraw warns residents of current Medicare scam

DAWN REED GUEST COLUMNIST

August 16, 2012

Special to the Daily News


West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw warns the public about fraudulent telephone calls. A bogus company misrepresents that it is calling on behalf of Medicare. This company seeks personal information, including Social Security numbers, for purposes of enrolling people in Medicare. There have been numerous calls received at the ElderWatch office from concerned citizens who have experienced these types of calls. ElderWatch is a consumer protection partner of the Attorney General’s office and is operated by the AARP Foundation.


Citizens calling ElderWatch to complain have had eerily similar experiences. The scammers are calling individuals asking for their checking account numbers. Those who answer their phones are being told that the government needs to send them new Medicare cards and recipients will not have coverage without the new card.


This scam has hit the north central area of West Virginia and has reached many in a short period of time. Reports have been received from Monongalia, Marion, Harrison and Barbour counties. Be alert of anyone wanting personal information and never feel pressured to volunteer such information.


“Scams are damaging to the victims and in times like these we should all provide each other with the accurate knowledge to avoid falling into these fraudulent tricks,” stated McGraw. “It is my job to educate and protect West Virginia consumers and I want everyone to be highly suspicious of telephone calls from individuals demanding bank account or social security numbers. No legitimate government organization or business will call asking for private information by phone.”


To ensure the safety of your personal information, do not provide anything like account numbers or social security numbers to anyone who calls asking for it. It is always best to offer to call back and then proceed to contact the Attorney General’s office to ask for help.


If you believe you may have been the victim of this scam contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division immediately. To report a scam or file a complaint, West Virginians can reach the Attorney General’s Office online at www.wvago.gov or by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-368-8808. For regular consumer news updates, follow “AGWestV” on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.