Last Updated on April 27, 2019Home » Blog » Personal Safety and Security » Fraud and Scams »
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a consumer alert on March 15, 2019. It warns people about the rise in Medicare Scams. So, what are these Medicare scams? Who are the scammers targeting? And, most importantly, how can you spot a Medicare scam? Here’s everything you need to know about Medicare scams.
Types of Medicare Scams
Sadly, Medicare scams often target the elderly and the vulnerable. That’s what makes this type of scam even more despicable than most. Scammers can approach people at any time of the year. There is usually a peak of Medicare scams, though, around the open enrollment period of Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. These scams often come in the form of robocalls. Scammers may tell you need to pay processing fee for a new card. They may tell you that they need your Medicare number or other personal details. None of this is true. It’s a scam. Read on, and we’ll give you some examples of the most common types of Medicare scams. But first, here’s an advisory video on Medicare scams from the FTC:
You Need a New Medicare Card
The new Medicare card scam is usually tried on via phone calls. But, sometimes, someone may send you emails or even call at your home. Scammers will try to get your Medicare number from you. They may try to get your date of birth and financial information as well. Don’t fall for it. Medicare employees will not contact you for information like this. if you need a new card, you will be sent one. And, there will be no charge for it.
You Are Due a Refund
In this Medicare scam, you will be told that you are entitled to a refund. The reason for that refund might be that there have been changes to policies, or that Medicare has been enhanced. If you are due for a Medicare refund, you will be sent a check. There will be no requirement for you prove anything. The government has your personal details. Government agencies don’t need you to confirm them. Never give out any personal information to anyone in an unsolicited phone call.
Free Medical Supplies
If you get a call offering you free medical supplies or a free medical check-up, be careful. Sometimes these calls are legitimate. Often, though they are scams. If they are scams, the caller will attempt to obtain personal information from you. Your bank account details, your Medicare number, or your social security number, for example. If you think that the offer may be genuine, check it out before you take it any further. It could be a phishing exercise, or it could be an attempt to sell you overpriced products.
Don’t Trust a caller ID
Scammers pose as all kinds of people. They may appear to be from a doctor’s office, a local health agency, or other official sounding authorities. Don’t trust the caller ID. This can be easily faked. Don’t be taken if callers have personal information about you either. These guys are clever. There are many ways that scammers can obtain information about you. Even if you think that a call is genuine. Say thanks, and then hang up. Call the agency yourself. Then, you can be sure of who it is you are talking to.
Supplemental Insurance Scams
This is more of a swindle than a Medicare scam. It is where pushy salespeople will attempt to hard-sell supplemental insurance policies to people on Medicare. They will say that the policies will save you thousands of dollars. There are some legitimate policies like these on the market. But, be careful, because polices like these are not necessary or suitable for everyone. If someone tries to scare or push you into signing up for any type of insurance policy, make sure that you read the small print before you sign. Or, get advice from someone you trust. It is also important to understand that this type of insurance policy will be provided by a private company. A company that wants to make profits. Supplemental insurance policies are not provided by the government.
Don’t Get Caught Up in Medicare Fraud
Medicare fraud has become a big problem. It costs the government almost $60 billion every year. Often, fraudsters take advantage of ordinary people to help them commit their crime. They might suggest that they can get around Medicare rules for you. Fraudsters might ask for your Medicare number in return for money. They might even suggest that you have unnecessary treatment. Don’t let yourself get caught up in Medicare fraud like this. It’s illegal and it could lead to criminal charges being brought against you.
As with most scams of this type, the way to avoid becoming a victim is to never reveal any confidential information to cold callers. If in doubt, hang up and dial the official telephone number of the organization yourself. Medicare scams are just one way that criminals will try to scam you. There are also these other phone scams to watch out for as well.
We hope that our post on Medicare scams has been a useful read for you. If it was, please do share it on social media so that other people will know what to watch out for. We will be bringing you more news on crimes and scams soon. If you’d like to be kept updated, please subscribe to our mailing list.
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