The Better Business Bureau says scammers are calling trying to steal personal information from unsuspecting Medicare patients.
The scam was one of 2012's top scams in North Alabama, and the BBB says crooks are trying it out again this summer.
Scammers will call Medicare patients, claiming they are about to send the victim a new Medicare card. In other scenarios, they say they will send more money to a person's account or send free medical supplies. All they need is the patient's Medicare card number.
The number is also the target's Social Security number, which makes it an easy way to obtain and steal that person's identity.
Michelle Mason from the BBB of North Alabama said the ease of obtaining that number is why the scam is so common right now.
"You can look online and find people by age, and know that most likely they will have a Medicare card," she said. "It's one of the few agencies that still uses your Social Security number as your account number."
Making matters worse is the fact that the scammers are using "spoofing" software to make the word 'Medicare' show up on Caller ID devices.
"Scam artists can even buy software that lets them put medicare's phone number in their caller ids as well as the name 'Medicare,' said Mason. "And if someone answers the phone and sees that, it's very believable."
Caller ID spoofing is illegal. The Federal Communications Commission prohibits any person or entity from making misleading calls using Caller ID in order to defraud or cause harm. The FCC says violators can face a penalty of up to $10,000.
The BBB warns consumers that while Medicare contacts patients by mail, they never call about account information. If you do receive a call asking for that information, consider it suspicious.
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