Be careful next time you pick up the phone. Some Las Vegas locals are getting phone calls apparently from Medicare. But as they're finding out it's not really Medicare at all.
"Very convincing, and I said all right, what would you like to know?" says Martin Thuna.
He recently received a call.
"The lady said I'm calling from Medicare. I want to go over your health insurance. You are Martin Thuna? I said yes," Thuna says.
The caller identified herself as Linda, and provided a Medicare identification number. Thuna says she also had his address. But to confirm she was really speaking with Thuna, she asked for a key piece of information.
"Give me your group number. So I didn't know what that meant. So I look on my Medicare card and looked at the group number," Thuna says.
That's when Thuna realized something was fishy.
"Wow, the group number is my Social Security number," Thuna says.
Thuna says he wasn't willing to give the caller his social. So he asked if he could call back later. But she wasn't willing to provide her phone number.
"I'll call you back and she hung up! Five minutes later my wife got the same call," says Thuna.
He told his wife to hang up. Then he called and alerted Medicare.
"These scam artists can be very smart," says Lori Powers with Nevada Senior Medicare Patrol.
She confirms this was a bogus call. And in an effort to prevent possible identity theft, Medicare has been working to remove Social Security numbers from all membership cards.
"New cards should be coming out in Nevada really at any time. We are in the next wave for them to come out," says Powers.
But the change has led to a rise in phony phone calls, as thieves try taking advantage of confused Medicare members.
"Obviously Medicare will return your call if you have an inquiry in with them. But they're not going to call you out of the blue to ask for your Medicare number or your Social Security number," says Powers.
And that's a lesson Thuna says we can all use when answering a call from any business.
"Better not to talk on the telephone, or give pertinent information on the telephone," says Thuna.
If you get a similar call, Nevada's Senior Medicare Patrol can help. They can verify if a call you receive is real or not. Just call (888) 838-7305.