Medicare Scam Targets Seniors' Personal Information

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RENO, NV - Elaine Gomes was having breakfast in her Reno home this morning when the phone rang.

"I picked it up and the guy said 'Hello ma'am' in a broken language. I'm from Medicare and I'm offering medical equipment at no cost to you. All I need is a little information."

He'd called the wrong woman. She's had her identity stolen before, so she knew what to do.

"I told him immediately I wasn't interested and hung up."

Had she stayed on the line, it's likely she would have been asked for her Medicare number and other personal information even the bank account number associated with her social security benefits.

Others getting these calls elsewhere have.

She called Medicare where a representative told her the government agency never makes calls like this.

Then she called us.

The phone call had come from a number listed in Virginia.

As we watched she called them back.

This time they identified themselves as Senior Care.

She was told they had a record of her calling about a back brace.

She'd never made any such call.

As it turns out many others across the country have gotten similar calls.

Medicare spokesmen in Washington and San Francisco tell us it's an obvious attempt to gain personal information.

Having been burned before, Elaine wasn't about to fall for it, but she wanted others to know what she knows.

":Be very leery anyone, but seniors especially. If they say 'I need some information', you hang up. Don't give them any information unless you know who's calling."

Both the federal government and Nevada Division of Aging and Disability Services have plenty of information on how to protect yourself from scams like this. You'll find links under "Hot Topics."