The Illinois SMP and several SMPs in other states have received reports from people who have tried to call a legitimate government or social service agency only to end up talking to a potential scammer, who may ask for bank information or your Medicare card number.
How does this scam work? This
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
explains how scammers have bought phone numbers that closely resemble the phone number for an actual U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) program. They are hoping that people calling the VA will misdial the real number and reach them.
It's not just the VA. Last year in this
Fraud Alert article
, we shared how scammers used phone numbers similar to 1-800-MEDICARE (
1-800-633-4227) to trick people misdialing that number. We are also seeing this happen with Medicare's Quality Improvement Organization and even with state programs meant to help people navigate Medicare.
If you are calling Medicare or VA, they will not ask you for money or bank information. If this happens to you, report the call to the FTC at
or call the Illinois SMP at AgeOptions.