We recently received this message from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigans office. I also posted an article in the Chicago Sun Times about it on our facebook page. (Photo from the Sun Times article)How does the Medicare scam work?The recent mailing of $250 rebate checks to participants in Medicare’s drug program has givenscammers a new opportunity to take advantage of seniors and other Medicare recipients. In this latestscam, Medicare recipient receive a call from a con artist claiming to be a Medicare representative. Thescammer then tells each recipient that they need to provide personal information, such as their SocialSecurity number and bank account number, in order to receive their rebate check. In reality, thescammers need this information to gain access to the recipient’s bank account and empty it.What are the rebate checks?The $250 Medicare rebate checks are part of the recently enacted health care reform package, and areintended to help close the coverage gap (or “doughnut hole”) in Medicare’s prescription drug program.The checks are mailed automatically—you do not need to provide any personal information to receivethem. The first of these tax-free checks were mailed the second week of June. Additional mailings arescheduled to go out as more recipients hit the doughnut hole, so remain alert in the months ahead!What should you do?Never give out personal information over the phone, unless you initiated the call and you know theperson with whom you are speaking. Remember—con artists will stop at nothing to steal your personalinformation, and often devise new scams to exploit the confusion surrounding changes in publicbenefits programs.If someone posing as a Medicare representative attempts to solicit your personal information, youshould report them immediately by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call1-877-486-2048.Also, if you believe you’ve been a victim of a Medicare scam, please contact the Illinois AttorneyGeneral’s Senior Consumer Fraud Hotline at 1-800-243-5377 or 1-800-964-3013 (TTY) to file aconsumer fraud complaint.Help spread the word! Education is the best prevention!