Elderly cautioned to be on alert to telephone cons

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
July 16, 2004
Elderly and disabled people due to be dropped from the state's Medicaid rolls should be careful not to fall prey to con artists posing as officials seeking information.
Gwendolyn Williamson, of Bailey, said her 86-year-old mother was notified by the state that her Medicaid coverage would change later this year.
Earlier this week, Williamson's mother, who lives in Collinsville, said she received a phone call from a woman who said she was doing a follow-up interview with people cut from Medicaid and began asking her personal questions.
Williamson said her mother told the caller that she should talk to her daughter and gave the caller Williamson's phone number.
Williamson said she called the Meridian Medicaid office and the state Medicaid office asking if they were doing follow-up interviews over the phone with people to be dropped off the rolls.
Although elderly people are often targets of illegal telemarketing schemes, spokesmen for the Meridian Police Department and Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department said they have not had reports of suspicious telephone calls regarding Medicaid.
Whether the call was legitimate or not, Detective Dean Harper of the Meridian Police Department said Williamson's mother did the right thing to avoid being taken advantage of.
Maj. Ward Calhoun of the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department added that people should never give out their checking account numbers or credit card numbers over the phone.

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