Northeast Ohio seniors target of Medicare card scam capitalizing on Affordable Care Act confusion

Seniors told they need new card for Obamacare

CANTON, Ohio - Patricia Zugcic of Canton was prepared when she took a call from a stranger who started asking her for personal information.

The man on the phone claimed he was from Medicare and told Zugcic that she needed new Medicare cards if she was interested in signing up for health care coverage on the Affordable Healthcare Act website.

"He said we have to send out new Medicare cards to you and I need to confirm your address," Zugcic said. "I knew there was something wrong with this, so I told him 'If you're from Medicare, you should already have this information,' at which point he hung up. End of conversation."

Zugcic is just one of dozens of seniors who have contacted the Canton Better Business Bureau and the office of 16th District Congressman Jim Renacci. Reports at the BBB indicate the criminals on the phone eventually try to get banking information out of unsuspecting residents.

Canton BBB President Frank Cilona told NewsChannel5 it's typical for crooks to try and take advantage of situations where there is a new government program and some confusion that can go along with it.

"That's the best time for them to pray on these individuals is when there is that confusion and they don't know what's going on, so that's when they strike," Cilona said.

"The federal government does everything by mail. They really will not email you, they won't phone call you, they won't text you. The government does most of their business through mail."

"That is the way people should take this when they are called or contacted by an individual asking for this information, they should be very cautious."

Congressman Renacci issued the following statement, warning consumers about the on-going scam:

"In addition to the widespread concerns within our community over the skyrocketing insurance costs and loss of coverage associated with Obamacare, constituents have alerted my attention to the fact that scammers are seeking to make a bad situation even worse by engaging in fraud and preying upon our seniors," said Renacci. 

"Medicare beneficiaries, who will already suffer badly under the law, are reportedly being targeted by criminals requesting they disclose personal financial information over the phone under the guise that it's required as part of the transition to Obamacare."

"Protecting the interests of our community is my top priority and I thought it was critically important to expose this disgusting scam for what it is."

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