It is not uncommon for the Department on Aging, tucked behind the driver's license station of the Harvey County Courthouse, to get a call when scammers are trying to prey on older residents of Harvey County.
"We are a safe place to call," said director Robert Carlton.
He and his staff have heard some doozies. That experience has him a little concerned about the future — specifically when Medicare begins to offer new identification cards.
Medicare is making a change — removing the insured's Social Security number from the card and instead issuing a random membership number.
"All good right?" Carlton said. "But think what that is going to do. (Scammers) will call someone up saying 'hey, you need to get a new number, and we can help with that. Give me your current number so we can send you the right new number.'"
And the scammer will then have the victim's social security number — enough information to steal an identity.
According to Andrew Johnson, consumer education specialist at the FTC, no one will be calling to confirm anything when new cards are starting to get issued. All cards will be replaced by April 2019, and it will "happen automatically — you won't have to pay anyone or give anyone information, no matter what someone might tell you," Johnson said.
Removing the Social Security number from the card is an effort to help medical identity theft and protect medical and financial information.
The transition, however, could open the door for scammers.
"The message we are sending out is, you do nothing," Carlton said. "No one will call you, and no one will ask you anything. .. El zippo. You don't have to do a thing."