Medicare scam targets a Sherman woman

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SHERMAN, TEXAS -- A new Medicare scam has made its way to Texoma. A Sherman woman -- who we'll call Diane -- became a target.

Fortunately for her, she was smart enough to recognize it as a scam and protect her identity.

Diane received a suspicious call Friday.

"Next he said, 'And we need to know the bank where you have your funds sent to,' and I said, 'I don't receive any funds from Medicare, why do you need this?'" Diane said.

The call from a stranger who police say claimed to be someone he was not.

"Someone who identified himself as being from the Medicare administrative offices," Diane said.

"The person knew her by name, called her by first and last name and said that they were in the process of sending out new cards," Sherman police Sgt. D.M. Hampton said.

The private caller said he was reissuing Medicare cards, but Medicare told Diane that they only distribute cards upon a client's request.

The caller already knew Diane's name and address, but also wanted her bank information.

"And he said, 'It's just another way to verify that you're who you say you are, so would you please tell me the name of the bank where you had your funds sent?'" Diane said.

"And it kind of set off some red flags with her," Hampton said.

Hampton says this type of fraud happens year-round, but can increase during the holidays.

"If they had her name and address and bank account numbers, they may have been able to establish a line of credit and begin to shop online," Hampton said.

Law Publications suggests a few common sense steps to protect your identity.

Don't give out personal information over the phone or Internet. Monitor your accounts and keep your receipts. Only give your social security number when absolutely necessary. And know who has access to your personal information.

Police say Diane handled the situation correctly.

"Take time to think about what they're actually asking for and make sure that the phone call they're getting is from a legitimate source," Hampton said.

If you think you're a target, regardless of the type of scam, you should call the fraud hotline and tell local police.

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