Medicare impostors target seniors for identity theft

Betty Jane of Olympia has a knack for knowing when something's not right. But a scammer caught her off guard when the phone jolted her out of a nap.

"I was sleeping in a chair," Betty Jane explained. "I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before and I dozed off."

The man on the phone sounded very official, and very polite.

"He said that he was from the Medicare office and he didn't know if I knew or not, but they had to issue all new Medicare cards," she said.

With all the recent news about possible changes in senior benefits, Betty Jane thought it sounded legit, especially since her Medicare card was getting pretty tattered, and even more when the caller made an extra effort right away to gain her trust.

"He said, 'By the way, my supervisor will come on the phone later and verify this information,'" Betty Jane explained.

Betty Jane said the caller knew her name and address and had the first five digits of her social security number. He wanted to verify her age and her birth date.

"I didn't wake up totally until I got clear down to the last part of it where he wanted my bank account number," she said. "I said, 'Wait a minute. I am not comfortable with this. I do not like it, and I am not going to speak to any of your supervisors or anything else.' And I hung up."

Betty Jane alerted the Social Security Office and put an alert on her bank accounts. She also called AARP and the local Senior Center.

"And I said, somebody's got to let these seniors know," Betty Jane explained.

They state Attorney General's office says it's been getting calls and complaints since early June. The local Medicare office says federal workers never call recipients about their Medicare cards and never ask for personal banking information. Anyone who needs a new card or has questions about their Medicare benefits must call the Social Security Administration, and the only number you should ever call is 1-800- MEDICARE.