Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

People warned of Social Security scams rampant in the area


August 19, 2019

Officials are warning people that scams from callers pretending to be from the Social Security Administration are running through the state and in north-central Montana, with scammers targeting people of all ages.

Hill County’s Area X Council on Aging reported last week that it is receiving three to 15 calls every couple of days reporting Social Security scams, including from people in their 30s wondering what to do.

A Havre man who gave his Social Security number to a scammer two weeks ago is mentioned in a release from Senior Medicare Patrol in Missoula, as is a woman in Great Falls who was victimized Thursday.

“It is important for Montanans to be aware of the existence of these potentially life-altering scams so our citizens, particularly those in our most vulnerable populations, can protect themselves and their livelihoods,” Montana Senior Medicare Patrlol Program Manager Renee Labrie-Shanks with Missoula Aging Services said in the release.

The release said the calls often sound official and are designed by con-artists to get around their victim’s logic and caution by creating a sense of urgency and fear.

Various versions have been reported throughout Montana including claiming the recipient’s Social Security number has been suspended due to suspicious activity; talking about enrollment in the Medicare prescription drug program, and offering a lower-cost health plan if someone in the person’s family had cancer.

The release cautions people not to answer if they don’t recognize the caller — if it is important the caller will leave a message.

People who do answer the phone should not talk about their personal life, and should never give out their Social Security number, Medicare number, bank account number, birthdate or personal information.

Official agencies already have the information they need and will not call people to get that information.

A fraud warning release from Senior Medicare Patrol says the Federal Trade Commission tells people to never give out personal information to unsolicited telemarketers or robocallers.

People who suspect someone of impersonating the Social Security Administration are asked to call the administration’s Office of Inspector General Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 with caller’s alleged name, telephone number, time and date call was made, and information requested by the caller.

People who have given out personal information can call their local Montana SMP at 1-800-551-3191.

People can also call the Area X Agency on Aging at North Central Senior Center at 265-5464.

Montana Senior Medicare Patrol is a statewide program designed to educate consumers about healthcare fraud, waste and abuse prevention. Missoula Aging Services administers the program throughout the state.

For more information on this scam and how it is impacting the lives of Montanans, contact Missoula Aging Services at 406-728-7682.


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