Frauds & Scams, General, Guest Bloggers, Medicare

You’ve Worked Hard for the Money — Now Protect It!

June 18, 2018 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day LogoMost of us work hard to save and plan for our retirement. But there are people who work just as hard to take it away from us. Who are they? Phone scammers.

While I was working from home the other day, my phone rang three times. A robotic voice told me that I was in debt to the IRS and needed to pay immediately or I would go to jail. I knew it was a scam because the IRS will NOT contact me by phone; but, I wondered, if I were home alone and did not know these types of scams exist, would I be frightened enough to send money?

We must educate ourselves about the ways of scammers to protect ourselves and those we love. Phone scammers use several scams, such as the Grandparent Scam, the Computer Software Scam, and the very popular, “You’ve just won!” To handle these scam calls, do not pick up the phone. Let your answering machine take a message and then delete it. If you pick up, never send money. Instead, pause before doing anything. Then, call a loved one to get their opinion, check with your bank, or phone the IRS directly to check on your status. Unfortunately, many older Americans send money right away when this happens to them.

Also, please be aware that Medicare has begun to mail out new Medicare cards that no longer show your Social Security number. This is good news! It helps protect you. However, senior citizens may not know this. The bad news is that scammers are pretending to be from Medicare to get their private information.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, on June 15, aims to promote a better understanding of this type of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness. Financial elder abuse can take many forms, from IRS and Lottery scams to theft of money by trusted people. However, financial is only one form of elder abuse happening daily. Other types include physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, as well as neglect.

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) is a resource center at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. They provide resources to educate people about all types of elder abuse, including information and resources to help detect, intervene, and prevent abuse. Two fact sheets, Scammed? Now what… and The Grandparent Scam, provide scam information. Training resources on elder abuse are also available. Visit NCEA’s website to learn more about protecting yourself, your loved ones, and your community from elder abuse.


Julie Schoen JD, brings her passion for all aspects of aging issues to her role as Deputy Director of the NCEA. She is an attorney with a strong background in Medicare advocacy who is now having impact in the area of elder abuse.

Eden Ruiz-Lopez leads grant management, and engages in education and outreach activities at the NCEA, among many other activities. Her background includes a wide range of advocacy, case management and service coordination for older people and people with disabilities.

Did you find this Information helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Tags: ,

See Comments

About the Author


  1. Tom B.

    Good advice.

  2. Charity H.

    A man called me saying he was from Medicare. That you all we’re sending me some medication and back and knee braces for free that they had back ordered from my Doctor. But they needed some information from me first. I told him if he was from Medicare he should have all my in formation. He said ” it was ordered from my doctor. I said ” then my doctor can call me and verify all of this.” I then said good bye and he said he would have some one call me tomorrow. Well, that did not happen! Just thought I’d let you know!

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for sharing, Charity. SSA employees occasionally contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes. An SSA employees may call you in limited situations, such as if you recently filed a claim or have other Social Security business that are pending. In only a few limited special situations, usually already known to the citizen, an SSA employee may request the citizen to confirm personal information over the phone. If a person has questions about any communication—email, letter, text or phone call—that claims to be from SSA, please contact your local Social Security office, or call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to verify its legitimacy (TTY number at 1-800-325-0778).

  3. ChrisL

    I just received a phone call from the head office of the SS Administration that my social security number has been “compromised” and suspended and if I do not act my assets will be frozen, how do I know if this is real of a scam? told me to call 617-977-4912.

  4. Shirley K.

    I was called at 9:30 AM today from Dallas, TX stating there was a warrant for my arrest regarding my SS # and I should call 214-810-9883 for further information. I know this a scam but I wanted to report it. thank you.

  5. Anne F.

    EXCELLENT article!
    Julie has always been a GREAT advocate for older adults! So proud to have shared time with her in the SMP program! I am still admiring her!

  6. Grace

    I think to handle these scam calls, do not pick up the phone. Let your answering machine take a message and then delete it.How a better understanding of this type of abuse of older persons ? Grace from

  7. windy s.

    I keep seeing that i have benefits but not knowing how to get to a site or see why i have accoints with the ARC I have no idea how to get to it

  8. LEIGH H.


  9. Jim E.

    How many total people work for the SSA? What is their total salary load, including benefits? Where does the money come from to support this workforce?

  10. Alice Y.

    Sadly many who are faced just as I am with losing my benefits if this administration has its way voted for the administration whose lies they believed and allowed their hatred of any/everything Black to cloud their judgment and they put someone in the oval office like Dumpy who only cares about using this country to line his pockets and realize his racist dreams of this country being only for Whites. The truth of the matter is that this country only became controlled by Whites after they viciously murdered Indigenous Peoples who helped them to survive after coming here from the streets of England. Think about it only an evil people could have done what they did and enact laws to keep themselves on top of everyone else as they did and do to this very day. I trust God and therefore will always be all right! I feel sorry for those of you who put your trust in this government and the idiots running it presently.

Comments are closed.