Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Cara Smith
312-814-3118
877-844-5461 (TTY)

csmith@atg.state.il.us
August 3, 2006

*****CONSUMER ALERT*****CONSUMER ALERT*****

MADIGAN WARNS MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES OF REQUESTS FOR PERSONAL AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION

Attorney General Lisa Madigan today warned Medicare beneficiaries in Illinois that seniors in some states have reported receiving telephone calls from highly aggressive individuals who claim to represent Medicare. Seniors report that these callers tell them that their Medicare account has been cancelled, the card lost and benefits terminated. Callers then instruct the seniors to immediately provide personal information including their Social Security number, bank account number, insurance information and date of birth.

"These are fraudulent attempts to obtain personal information that could be used to financially exploit Medicare beneficiaries in various ways," Madigan said.

Madigan reminded Medicare beneficiaries not to divulge personal financial information over the phone to unsolicited callers. When seniors receive these calls, the best thing to do is simply hang up the phone.

To help avoid these scams, Madigan recommends the following steps:

  • Hang up the phone immediately. It can be shrewd to be rude.
  • Call 911 if you feel threatened.
  • Never divulge personal information such as Medicare, Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers to anyone who calls on the phone or comes to the door.
  • Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry at 1-888-382-1222 or online at www.donotcall.gov
It is important to note that the Social Security Administration and Medicare do not call or visit seniors' homes. Madigan urges anyone with concerns or information about someone misrepresenting themselves as an agent of Medicare to report the situation by calling the Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Hotline at 1-800-243-0618 and/or Age Options (formerly Suburban Area Agency on Aging) at 1-800-699-9043.

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