The Safety of Your Social Security Number is at Stake
Connecticut BBB, AARP and the Department of Consumer Protection are warning consumers about mailers that bear the Great Seal of the State of Connecticut, and offer a variety of subsidies for various medical problems.
The leaflets are believed to have been sent to hundreds of residents across the state.
The document is headed “Connecticut Resident Health and Wellness Benefits Notice,” and requests the recipient to call various telephone numbers “for details and qualification.” The mailer says it offers subsidies for a knee or neck brace, hearing aid, diabetes testing and Medicare benefits GAP Coverage.
Anyone who called one of the listed telephone numbers was asked for personal information, including their Medicare or Social Security Number and contact details for their physician.
“Although the telephone numbers have been taken out of circulation, this scam serves as a reminder to consumers to be wary of any unsolicited document that requires giving out personal information over the telephone, at your front door or by email or text.” warns Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner, Jonathan A. Harris. “An official looking seal can be easily copied and used by scammers to mislead consumers.”
According to Connecticut Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Scarpetti, “This is a very busy time of year for consumers, when they are bombarded by emails, telephone calls, charity appeals and telemarketers’ pitches. We have to be extremely careful about responding to what may appear to be an urgent appeal, a threat or unrealistic deals and discounts.”
AARP State Director, Nora Duncan added, “Scams targeting older adults continue to be a concern for all of us. Even if something looks official, it pays to check it out before providing any personal information.”
Better Business Bureau and the Department of Consumer Protection say this sort of fraud presents several red flags if:
- It asks for a Medicare number in exchange for equipment, services or discounts on lab tests
- It uses pressure or scare tactics to sell expensive materials
- It offers non-medical services as Medicare-approved expenditures
To protect yourself, make sure to follow these guidelines:
- Do not give away personal information, including your Medicare number, to door-to-door sales people, callers, or as a follow up to a mailed or emailed solicitation
- Do not call numbers listed on mail solicitations, or left on voicemails that tell you to call back at risk of a penalty
- Never be afraid to say “no”
- BBB, AARP and DCP urge consumers to discuss these issues with friends, relatives and, in particular, those who are eligible for Medicare benefits.
If you or anyone you know has received this sort of document, you are asked to report it to DCP at 860-713-6300 or toll free at 1-800-842-2649, in addition to reporting the incident through Connecticut BBB’s Scam Tracker, at bbb.org/scamtracker/Connecticut.
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