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New scams are targeting seniors during the COVID-19 outbreak

Posted: Thu, Mar 26, 2020 11:41 AM

The Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) at Winneshiek Medical Center is passing along information about COVID-19-related scams that have been directed at seniors in the last week or two.

-- Several Medicare beneficiaries have received calls from a person stating they are with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The callers report that because of the person's history with medication they are eligible for Coronavirus testing and they want to come to their home to drop off the test kit. SHIIP says this is a SCAM! -- CMS is not calling people to offer to come to their house to provide a test kit.

-- Some Iowa Total Care members are receiving a text message asking them to click on a link to sign up for meals. The text message says, "Iowa Total Care is going to be providing two meals per household member who is insured by Iowa Total Care." SHIIP says this is a scam -- do NOT click on the link. There are no free meals.

-- Some Social Security beneficiaries have received letters through the mail stating their payments will be suspended or discontinued unless they call a phone number referenced in the letter. Scammers may then mislead beneficiaries into providing personal information or payment via retail gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency, or by mailing cash, to maintain regular benefit payments during this period of COVID-19 office closures. Social Security will NOT suspend or decrease Social Security benefit payments or Supplemental Security Income payments due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

If anyone in Winneshiek County receives such calls, letters or texts, please report them to Iowa's Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-800-351-4664.