COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Insurance Director Jillian Froment issued a consumer alert to warn older Ohioans of two telephone scams targeting them in an attempt to steal their personal information.
“Unfortunately, older adults are one of the most targeted groups for scammers,” Governor DeWine said. “We want to make sure older Ohioans are armed with the information they need to protect themselves in case they receive a suspicious call.”
“We have been informed by several of our stakeholder partners of scams seeking to take advantage of our older Ohioan population,” Froment said. “I urge people to be extremely cautious when deciding to share their personal information and to consider contacting organizations directly to initiate conversation and information sharing.”
Social Security Account Number Suspended Scam
Medicare beneficiaries are receiving recorded phone calls that appear on caller ID as if they are from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The message states that the person’s SSA account has been suspended and to press 1 for more information. Pressing 1 does connect the person with the SSA but a scammer is on the line ready to steal personal information the person may share with the SSA. The SSA will not call a beneficiary unless the person requested a call from the SSA. A beneficiary can always call the SSA at 1-800-269-0271 to verify the legitimacy of a situation they encounter. Additional information is available at https://faq.ssa.gov/en-us/Topic/article/KA-10018.
Retirement Organization Prepaid Funeral Account Scam
Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) members are receiving phone calls from a scammer saying they are with VIA Benefits and are in need of personal information to establish the member’s prepaid funeral account. VIA Benefits, which does provide certain insurance services, is not making such calls. Members who receive these calls can call VIA Benefits at 1-844-287-9945 or OPERS at 1-800-222-7377.
The Ohio Department of Insurance provides educational information for Medicare beneficiaries through its Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program, regulates insurance products, and monitors the marketplace for insurance fraud and professional misconduct, among many other duties.
Ohioans can call the department’s fraud and enforcement hotline at 1-800-686-1527 or contact non-profit Pro Seniors and its fraud-fighting Ohio Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-800-488-6070 if they suspect wrongdoing or have been victimized.