Published on January 3, 2015
It sounded too good to be true and it was. The scammers calling from Montreal, Canada, told seniors that for around $300 they could buy a "drug discount card" that would pay for all their prescriptions and that they wouldn't need a Medicare part D plan. It's hard to say exactly how many seniors were duped and how much they lost, says William Hodor, a lawyer with the Federal Trade Commission in Chicago, who handled the case. But he estimates somewhere around 3,600 seniors fell victim to the scam between October 2012 and March 2013. In this case, the scammers, who were caught and stopped, weren't after the seniors' Medicare numbers -- they were after their bank accounts, Hodor says. Seniors can be easy prey when callers tell them that if they don't sign up or buy something, they will lose their Medicare benefits and/or health insurance, Hodor says. These scammers were particularly smart, he says, because they didn't come across as salesmen but rather were promoting their scam "as what people had to do to continue to receive their benefits."