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New con facing senior citizens - Local residents getting sucked into Medicare scam

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Cops are warning residents about a new crew of scam artists who pilfer personal information from unsuspecting victims while pretending to be Medicare employees. The con – which targets elderly residents in particular – is a simple one: victims get calls at home from someone who claims that they are working for Medicare. The con artist explains that the victim has to re-do his forms to get his or her Medicare benefits and then offers to take their information over the phone. Through the conversation, the unsuspecting victim gives the con artist his Social Security number and any other personal information that would enable the thief to take that identity, Captain John Sprague, the commanding officer of the 62nd Precinct warned last week. “No one should ever give their personal information to someone over the phone if they did not initiate that call,” Sprague said, speaking at Tuesday’s 62nd Precinct Community Council meeting. “These people are preying on the elderly, so we want everyone to spread the word.” Cops want to wrangle in the Medicare scammers before they challenge the 12 percent reduction in grand larcenies that residents experienced last year. Save for an increase in rape reports and assaults, felony crimes in Bensonhurst and Bath Beach fell by just over 11 percent last year, Sprague explained. “We had a slight up-tick in felony assaults, but that increase was directly attributed to domestic violence cases,” said Sprague, who said that, in a way, the increase was a “good thing.” “[The increase] shows us that there is better reporting of cases of domestic violence than there has been in the past,” he said. “People are becoming more and more aware about these incidents in their neighborhoods and they are reporting them so the victims get the help they need.” The increase in domestic violence reports stems from the NYPD’s “tremendous outreach to residents about combating domestic violence.” The increase in rape reports can be linked to more awareness of domestic violence crimes as well, since the attacks were all committed by the victims’ brutish husbands, boyfriends and other relatives. “We ended the year well and we’re going forward,” Sprague said, adding that if a crime trend comes up, the precinct could utilize the help of a “floating impact zone” – 70 officers assigned to the Brooklyn South Task Force that could be immediately activated to patrol a particular neighborhood if the need arises. “We’re going to keep with the same trends that gave us so much success last year,” Sprague said. “As always, the community is key when it comes to crime fighting. The NYPD can’t go it alone.”

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