Phone scammers targeting seniors in Clark, surrounding counties 

Published 11:49 am Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Better Business Bureau issued a warning Monday about scam phone calls targeting seniors in the Clark County area. 

A Clark County senior citizen received a call Monday morning from a man claiming to be a representative from Medicare, according to the release. The caller said he needed the name of her supplemental insurance provider or she would have her benefits “cut off.” 

The victim knew the call was a scam and refused to share her information. 

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A similar call was made to an elderly Mount Sterling couple, who fell victim to a phone scammer pretending to be with the Social Security Administration who tricked them out of personal information including Social Security and bank account numbers.

The woman called Better Business Bureau serving Central & Eastern Kentucky and said a man using the name “John Mullins” called her home Saturday morning. He gave a badge number and said he was calling from the Social Security Office in Baltimore, Maryland. He told her she would be receiving a $106 increase in her monthly Social Security benefits. 

He went on to ask for her date of birth, Social Security number and bank account information. When she hesitated to provide it, he told her that if she refused, her Social Security benefits would be cut off entirely.

This frightened the victim, so she gave the information to the caller. He then wanted to speak to her husband, who also gave the scammer the same information. Meantime, the wife searched on her cell phone for the area code on the Caller ID display where the call originated and found it was “876,” which is in Jamaica.  She told her husband to hang up.

This type of phone scam uses the reliance of the elderly on their government program benefits to survive, the BBB warned. Scammers often pretend to be with federal government agencies to frighten seniors into providing their personal information or even money.

BBB reminds residents:

— Government agencies do not call or e-mail you out of the blue for any reason. 

— Government agency communications come by mail. 

— Do not give information over the phone to someone claiming to be with a government agency who calls you unsolicited, no matter what threats they make. Look up the agency number you know to be correct and call yourself to confirm any communication.