NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability provides free assistance to our elderly population when it comes to medicare, but now it appears fraudsters are using the good deed in a negative way.
“It was about two weeks ago that I received word that scammers were spoofing our SHIP hotline, and not representing themselves as SHIP coordinators but asking for sensitive information from our older Americans,” Ryan Ramsey, State SHIP Program Development and Quality Assurance Coordinator, said.
Ramsey said these fake coordinators ask for medicare claim numbers and social security information.
“Mostly we had calls come in from the states of Michigan, Florida and Georgia. However, we still do not want anyone representing themselves within our number or within the words claiming to be SHIP and using our program to carry out any sort of nefarious deed,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey said his office would never contact you just out of the blue.
“Anyone who we do make contact with is within the state of Tennessee. We do not cold call anybody so it’s merely people who call into us that we return calls to,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey added legitimate representatives typically do ask for personal information, but that’s only after you’ve contacted their program.
“If you’ve never contacted our program nor if you’re from the State of Tennessee, we would not be contacting you,” Ramsey said.
So if a fraudster calls acting very pushy or aggressive, hang up.
“They prey on emotion and right now with this pandemic that’s going on. There's a lot of fear going around with a lot of people, but especially these older Americans who are the most at risk population currently within our state and nationwide,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey said if you get a call like this, contact the Federal Trade Commission to report it.