7On your side: Phishing scam targets those on Medicare - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7 On Your Side: Phishing scam targets those on Medicare

Senior citizens rely on Medicare for their healthcare. So, when someone calls claiming to be with Medicare, it's not as easy to dismiss as someone selling vacuum cleaners.

A Jennings woman who received such a call stopped short of getting scammed. She's Becky Woodel who received the call last week, about her Medicare card.

The man on the line said he needed information in order to send her a new card.

Yet, admits Woodel, "My Medicare card looks pretty good. I didn't know why I needed another  one anyway."

The man on the phone already had her name and address, which she confirmed. But she was smart enough not to reveal any new information.

"And then he said, 'And I need your bank, the name of your  bank.' And I said, 'I'm sorry I just don't feel comfortable giving you that information.' And he said, 'Oh, no, no. There's nothing to it, but to complete this transaction I need your bank, the name of your bank.' And I said, 'No, like I told you, I'm just not comfortable.' And then 'click.' He hung up,"said Woodel. 

She did write down the number, which her caller ID said was from Florida. However, when we dialed it, a recording came on indicating the number was not in service.

Even though the number on the phone suggested it was from Florida, Carmen Million, with the Southwest Louisiana Better Business Bureau, said such callers are really in some foreign country.

"The way they do that is they mask the number they are calling from which is in a foreign country because they want consumers to believe that it's in their local area.  t makes it more believable," said Million.

Million, with the Better Business Bureau, said he was no doubt trying to get into her bank account.

"That's what we call a phishing scam. He's fishing for personal, financial information. He's telling her he's calling to update her Medicare card. The Social Security Office, Medicare Department is not going to call  you to verify that information. First of all, they already have your information if it really is that particular agency," said.

Woodel speaks out to help make sure others don't fall for it because she admits, she might have slipped up.

"Especially if you're in a hurry or you're just not thinking real clearly that day. It would be so easy," said Million.

So, beware of callers asking questions that are none of their business, Control the conversation as best you can and safeguard your personal information.

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved

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