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Simple advice: Never give out personal information to someone you donít know
BALTIMORE -- Maryland consumers should be on the lookout for the latest scam that seeks to steal personal information over the phone by using the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Federal Health Care Reform) as a ploy.
ďIf someone claiming to be from the government calls and asks for your personal information, just hang up,Ē said Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. ďMany people unfortunately donít realize until the damage is done how harmful it can be to hand over your personal information to someone you donít know.Ē
Under this scam, you may be asked to verify or provide personal information such as a Social Security number or a bank account number in order to receive a new Medicare card. No such verification program exists and you should never give out your personal or financial information over the phone unless you know and trust the person to whom you are talking. The government and legitimate organizations consumers do business with already have that information and will not ask you for it.
Scam artists can use information you supply to commit identity theft, charge your existing credits cards, deplete your bank accounts, write fraudulent checks or take out loans in your name.
Consumers who have Caller ID and receive these unsolicited calls should write down the callerís number and contact the Attorney Generalís Consumer Protection Division at 410-528-8662 or 1-888-743-0023.
To file a complaint online, go to http://www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/complaint.htm. Consumers who might be victims of identity theft should call the Attorney Generalís Identity Theft Unit at 410-576-6491 or get more information at http://www.oag.state.md.us/idtheft/index.htm. Consumers can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at https://ftccomplaintassistant.gov, or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).