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MASON CITY, IA – We’ve told you before about similar schemes reported in our area.
For instance: a phone call from someone pretending to be a grandchild, saying they need money to get out of jail.
But now, there’s a new one, playing on people’s fears of the coming health care reform law changes.
And one local woman now knows how it works; she got the call first-hand.
You could say Dixie Scherff is one wise lady.
And her wits came in handy when she received an interesting phone call the other day.
“I received a telephone call from a gentlemen saying he was calling from WashingtonD.C. I could just barely understand him, and he said he was calling on behalf of new medical cards being mailed out,” said Dixie.
At first this made sense, Dixie knew the coming health care reform changes will also affect Medicare.
But it was when the caller asked for certain information from her, when a light bulb went off.
“I thought well there’s so much going on with the medical field right now, with the health insurance that I thought maybe there are some new cards coming out. When he didn’t get my right address, barely understand him, and then he says ok I need to know your bank. I hung up on him,” said Dixie.
And Cindy Stephenson, from Iowa Heartland Credit Union, couldn’t be happier that she did.
“They’re just really good at it so before you know it, you’ve given them all this information and when you say goodbye it’s like a light clicks on you realize you spoke to someone who they weren’t,” said Stephenson.
Stephenson says it’s quite common to hear of phone calls like these.
But the scary part is what can happen if you give out your social security number or bank account information.
“Open loans in your name, conduct business under the social security number, and it’s not you it’s someone totally that doesn’t even exist. They’re going to gain financial gain for themselves,” said Stephenson.
And with new ideas of ways to get your money coming out seemingly every day, you can never hear this advice too often:
“Never give out your social security number, nothing if someone calls you up and says I need to verify your information, get their name and phone number and say I’ll call you back,” said Stephenson.
Dixie’s glad she caught on before giving away any personal information, and she wants to make sure nobody else falls for this, either.
“I hope they don’t get caught. I don’t want them giving out their banking information or their computer information because they could be taken for all they’re worth,” said Dixie.
Stephenson, from Iowa Heartland Credit Union recommends calling police right away if you do receive this type of call.
It’s also recommended that you call each of the three main credit reporting agencies, if you do end up giving out your information.