A new warning is coming out from the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana.  The warning this time deals in particular with the elderly and disabled.  They are cautioning people to beware of unsolicited phone calls from scammers who are to get their Medicare or Medicaid information.

The BBB of Acadiana says in the past several weeks, they have received many calls from people saying they are being contacted by alleged federal agencies, asking for personal information such as Medicare, Medicaid, social security, credit card or bank account numbers.

According to a press release, here is how the BBB says the scam likely is being conducted:

The victim might be given any number of excuses to provide this information including that an error needs to be fixed, that he or she is part of a survey or eligible to receive free products or can sign up for a new prescription drug plan.  If the crooks can get banking information, they’ll use it to commit identity theft.

The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana says usually these callers are very aggressive.  They say often victims are called many times and at all hours of the day.  The BBB says scammers do this to try to wear down their potential victims. They may even have limited information about the person that’s easily gleaned from public databases that they use to make the call seem legitimate.

As the BBB points out, "Medicare, Medicaid and the Social Security Administration will not call you to update information or issue a new card. If you get one of these calls, hang up and report it to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services."

So what can you do to protect yourself from someone trying to scam you or steal your identity?  Here is some advice from the BBB:

  1. Never give out their personal information over the phone, especially if it is from an unsolicited caller. IF consumers receive a suspicious phone call, they should hang up immediately.
  2. Remind elderly family members that Medicare will never call to ask for sensitive personal financial information. If you suspect fraud contact your local police or the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General at 800-HHS-TIPS.
  3. Never sign blank insurance claim forms.
  4. Never give blanket authorization to a medical provider to bill for services rendered.
  5. Ask your medical providers what they will charge and how much you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket.
  6. Carefully review your insurer's explanation of benefits statement. Call your insurer and provider if you have questions.
  7. Don’t do business with door-to-door or telephone salespeople who tell you that medical services or equipment are free.
  8. Give your insurance/Medicare identification only to those who have provided you with medical services.
  9. Keep accurate records of all health care appointments.

Anyone with questions or concerns can call The BBB of Acadiana at (337) 981-3497.  You can also check out their website at www.acadiana.bbb.org 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America.  The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.

And, there is also an app for that!  The BBB Search app can be found at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014505?mt=8.