If it's not one thing, it's another!

As we approach the end of the year, especially open enrollment time for health care and Medicare, Michiganders may notice an uptick in scam and robocalls. These robocalls are meant to prey on the elderly and other vulnerable adults who may not know what to look out for.

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Have you noticed anything weird going on lately? I myself received the strangest call the other day. Upon Googling the number, guess what? It was a known Medicare scam caller!

And it's not just Medicare, it's also the same ol' "you have a warrant for your arrest, pay now to avoid jail time" sort of thing. Here's the lowdown on the latest scams circulating throughout Michigan:

Open Enrollment Scams:

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) advises senior citizens across the state to be wary of calls asking for personal information using high-pressure sales tactics.

MDHHS reminds residents any agent or broker selling Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plans are not allowed to make unsolicited calls, send unsolicited text messages, or leave voicemail messages-- that last one was news to me!

Lauren G/TSM
Lauren G/TSM

It seems like nearly every robocall leaves a voicemail message, I was unaware legit agents weren't allowed to do that. So that clears that up!  Authorized agents are also not allowed to make unsolicited visits to your home or leave materials on your doorstep or mailbox.

Arrest Warrant:

Authorities in Berrien County are warning residents of the rise of another common scam in the area; the one where the person on the other end of the line claims to be from the sheriff's department and has a warrant for your arrest.

The brazen scammer then has the audacity to ask you for payment immediately in order to avoid jailtime; usually the preferred payment method is via Venmo or CashApp. Which honestly should be the biggest red flag of all.

USPS Parcel:

Another scam that's resurfaced is the "smishing" scam. In this one, victims typically receive a text notification regarding the status of a parcel delivery; often using the name of legitimate carriers like USPS, FedEx, or Amazon.

Especially with events like Amazon's Prime Day it's hard to keep track of all your incoming packages, but never click the link and never enter your personal information! Often, the only way you'll get text notifications from mail carriers is if you sign up for them yourselves via the carrier's official and secure website.

What to Know:

Authorities say Michiganders should never do the following:

  • Give your Medicare number or personal information to callers or visitors, even if they say they are from Medicare.
  • Do not rely on caller ID. Scammers can use technology to make it look like they are calling from a legitimate business or government agency, it's called "spoofing".

My personal rule of thumb: if you don't recognize the phone number and aren't expecting an important call-- just don't answer it!

8 Things To Do If You Paid A Phone Scammer

Merciless phone scammers are targeting unaware folks with schemes involving pleas for charity, car warranties, unpaid traffic tickets, you name it. The Federal Trade Commission says, "Scammers often ask you to pay in ways that make it tough to get your money back. No matter what payment method you used to pay, the sooner you act, the better."
If you have paid one of these scammers and then realize you have been scammed, here are 8 tips from the Federal Trade Commission, on what to do if you have paid a scammer.

Gallery Credit: Brad Carpenter/Federal Trade Commission/Canva

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