MUNCIE, Ind. -- A Muncie woman is warning others about scammers targeting the sick and elderly.
Gearlean Young is now waiting on a new Medicare card and number after she says she unknowingly gave her number to a scammer over the phone.
Young, who depends on in-home care and is on a fixed income, says she didn’t realize what was going on until it was too late.
“I want people to know it’s happening,” said Young. “I’ve been scammed and I know they’re capable of doing so to how many other people.”
Young said she took a call from someone claiming to be with Medicare. The phone number even matched the one on her card.
The caller told her they were calling to see if she had gotten her new Medicare card and without thinking, Young said she gave them her number when they asked for it.
Young said she got suspicious when the woman started asking her about allergies and other personal details.
“I said, well, wait a minute. This is not Medicare. If it was Medicare you wouldn’t be asking these questions,” said Young.
She hung up the phone after that, but she knew it was already too late.
Now she’s scrambling to secure her private information and spent an entire day on the phone with police, the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General’s Office.
Officials say thieves can use a stolen Medicare number to buy drugs, submit claims or get expensive medical equipment.
“These people don’t care how poor you are,” said Young. “They don’t care how much you don’t have, how hard you’re struggling. All they care about is getting what they want.”
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say they’re aware this type of scam is going around and they want other patients to be cautious.
They say you should only share your Medicare number with your doctor when you contact them directly. Their representatives will never ask for your personal information.
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