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New scam targets local Medicare recipients

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Updated: 4/29/2013 11:56 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Action News has learned about a new phone scam targeting Medicare recipients in Northeast Florida.

Valerie Norton, Manager of Seniors vs. Crime for Duval County says local seniors are receiving calls from scammers claiming to be Medicare representatives. They're told their health care coverage is at risk and the Affordable Care Act is to blame.

"They tell them there have been changes and are asking for a credit card number so they can have that on file for any deductibles and co-pays. They'll also ask to verify your Medicare number, which is also your Social Security number, so at that point they have your credit card number, your address, your phone number and your Social."

Norton says it sounds legit and often works because new health care policies are confusing, and seniors are scared to lose their coverage.

Criminals convince their victims that giving them credit card information will protect them, when it actually puts them at risk.

"Not only do they clean out your bank accounts, but they also file claims in your name. Some day you might need that service and it has already been used up."

If you see something suspicious, Norton says you should call Medicare to file a report, and then call police.

"If you see a wheelchair on your Medicare statement and you don't have one, you may be a victim."

To learn more about Medicare fraud, visit the Senior Medicare Patrol website.

You can also visit the Florida AARP website.

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