NORTH ADAMS -- A Medicare scam reported in the city recently has local protection group Triad stepping up its efforts to warn seniors and others about dubious phone calls.
The scam involved a man claiming to be a Medicare representative, who offered free services and supplies to one senior resident last week while seeking personal information.
Since the call, Triad has assisted this individual, an elderly woman, in a multi-front damage-control effort to prevent attempts at fraud.
Pearl Mullett, president of the city's Triad group, has straightforward advice for anyone receiving such a call.
"If you receive a call from Medicare, hang up the phone," Mullett said. "Medicare sends letters to people, they don't call."
After the victim spoke to the supposed Medicare representative, she contacted Triad, worried about identity theft.
She and Mullett then took the story to police, while contacting credit card companies, credit bureaus, a local bank and the victim's personal doctor about the call.
"It's still not over," Mullett said. "She has to call the credit bureau every four months for the next year. It's a horrible thing."
Mullett said that because seniors are often targeted, significant headway can be made by awareness campaigns geared at families.
She and other Triad members recently hung fliers at the doors of North Adams Housing Authority tenants and notified local nursing homes -- also
"This is nerve-wracking for seniors," Mullett said. "... It could be devastating to people. They could lose their homes, bank accounts, everything."
Past scams have gone after Social Security checks, Mullett said, and now even political campaign fundraising efforts can unfairly take advantage of elderly citizens.
Mullett thinks more ought to be done to raise awareness. State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi (D-North Adams) will attend a Triad meeting at American Legion Post 125 on American Legion Drive for an informational talk on the subject on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 12:30 p.m.
To reach Phil Demers, email email@example.com.