June 20, 2018
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Searsport woman warns others about Medicare scam

By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff

SEARSPORT, Maine — Something about the phone call Helen Kuffert received Wednesday morning, purportedly from the Social Security Administration in Washington, D.C., didn’t seem quite right.

The Searsport senior citizen heard a woman with a foreign accent explain that the administration planned to send everyone in the country a new Medicare card, and just wanted to know the name of Kuffert’s bank.

“I said, ‘I’m not telling you that!’” the Searsport woman recalled. “I asked her, ‘Who are you? And where are you calling from?’”

The woman said she was calling from Washington, D.C., then started coughing. Finally, she hung up.

But Kuffert wasn’t satisfied. She called the Social Security Administration to check on the call. After navigating the complicated phone system and waiting quite some time, she learned from a real employee there that the administration has no plans to reissue Medicare cards to all citizens.

Kuffert wants to warn others in the area about the telephone scam.

“Scams — there’s so many of them,” she said.

Chief Dick LaHaye of the Searsport Police Department said he hadn’t heard of other reports of the scam, which was new to him.

“Typically, it’s not a mass calling that occurs,” he said. “It’s anywhere from one to five or six people in an area, then it subsides.”

Police typically encourage senior citizens and others to beware of scam artists who ask for financial information or money over the phone.

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