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Rookie-doo is not in Webster’s dictionary. It is a term I have known since I was a kid. It means a person has been tricked, scammed, cheated or deceived.

Being “rookie-dooed” sounds funny but it’s not. For instance, did you ever purchase a car that turned out to be a lemon? You drove it onto your driveway and the tail pipe fell off. Or, late at night, while watching television a sad and pathetic critter appears and asks for a donation to an organization you’ve never heard of, but still you cover your conscience and send a check for ten dollars.

A few nights ago, I answered my phone without checking the caller I.D. What really makes me angry is, I knew better. When I picked up that phone I knew I shouldn’t answer. “Hello?” I say.

“Yes, hello” the polite, professional voice replied. She introduced herself and rattled off the name of the company she was representing.

She spoke so fast that the only word I connected with was, “Medicare”. She was calling to “up-date” my Medicare information. Having just received my new card in the mail I could understand there might be some questions. (By the way, if you haven’t received a new Medicare card, you will by mail.)

In my defense, I did give pause. But she sounded so legitimate. So

reasonable, so knowledgeable, someone who could be my friend, maybe meet for coffee.

She continues with her questions. Is my address she has current? How about my medications, what do I take? How is my general health, how is you back pain? Have you had any surgery? “Oh, and by the way, what is your Medicare number? just for the record.”

I’m beginning to question these questions. I’m beginning to feel a little like I’m being “rookie-dooed”.

I’m feeling uneasy with my new best friend. “I don’t have back pain” I tell her. She persists, “Medicare will provide you with a neck and back brace for no cost to you”. “But I don’t have back pain” I say.

She asked me again to rate my back pain five to ten. “I do not have back pain!” I say a little more sternly. She repeats again that I can have a brace at no cost. Medicare will pay for it, in full!

CLICK! The light has finally dawned and I hung up.

The evening wore on and my mind kept returning to my phone conversation. Have I really been “rookie-dooed”? The answer sadly is yes. Probably someone right now is getting a new back brace with my Medicare number.

I’m worried. I know I won’t sleep, so I call the Medicare number on the back of my card. The government doesn’t sleep, so I was confident that some sleep deprived person would answer my call. Sure enough, a cheerful voice answered.

“Ann” was very nice and she attempted to assure me that calling her in the middle of the night was the right thing to do. Scams happen to everyone. Scams are a multi-billion dollar business. That is why there are so many of us victimized everyday.

“Ann” gave me some numbers to call in order to inform the proper authorities.

The Federal Trade Commission will investigate would be scams. 1-877-382-4357. The agent who answered my call, assured me that I had done the right thing alerting Medicare.

I was also encouraged to register with the “No Call list” 1-888-382-1222. Allow thirty days for this to activate. If you continue to receive unwanted calls contact the authorities. They take this very seriously and if you are being bothered the Feds want to know about it.

Okay, let us review on how not to be “rookie-dooed”.

Social Security will never call you and ask for numbers.

Medicare will never call you and ask for numbers.

The IRS will never call you and ask for numbers.

Your Medicare hand book for 2018 has telephone numbers and information to guide you.

Social Security has numbers and websites to help you.

You can call your local police to report someone you suspect.

You can ask your In-Home Care Connection Client Care Manager to help you.

Your Senior Center will help you too.

Don’t get Rookie-dooed! Never give out personal information on the phone! Never. Betty

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