The Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is warning seniors to be aware of a telephone scam currently affecting Iowans.
These types of scams tend to spread to other neighboring states once in motion.
In the scam, the caller poses as being "from" Medicare and claims that there are changes to the Medicare Summary Notice and Medicare cards. They try to obtain personal information by saying they want to visit the person's home to give them the information and materials on the supposed changes.
The personal information is then used to commit financial fraud.
The SMP advises seniors that Medicare officials do not call beneficiaries to discuss changes to the program nor do they visit their homes.
The SMP encourages people to report suspected identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338.
Missouri SMPs help Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries prevent, detect and report health care fraud, helping to protect older persons as well as preserve the integrity of these programs.
Because the work of the SMP often requires face-to-face contact to be effective, the SMP relies on approximately 5,000 active volunteers to help in its efforts.
An SMP volunteer in Missouri was recently key to the apprehension of a female scam artist going door-to-door posing as an official representative of Medicare doing wellness checks.
One of the incidents resulted in a stolen wallet which was reported to an SMP volunteer who then raised awareness about what was going on and police ultimately arrested the scammer in a nearby community.
Anyone interested in becoming an SMP volunteer, or if you have questions or concerns, is encouraged to contact the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.