Beware! Don’t Fall for These Medicare Scams
Medicare scams are on the rise. As a senior, it’s important to protect your personal and financial information from scammers trying to steal your identity or defraud Medicare. This blog post will highlight common Medicare scams to watch out for.
One of the most common scams is when someone calls claiming to be from Medicare. The caller might say you need to know about Medicare open enrollment on december 7, verify or update your Medicare number, or that your Medicare coverage is at risk. These are red flags!
Medicare will never call you unsolicited and ask for your Medicare number or other personal information over the phone. Scammers can use your Medicare number to bill Medicare fraudulently or steal your identity.
Here are some tips to avoid medicare phone scams:
Medicare will never call you to confirm or update your Medicare number. Hang up immediately if someone asks for this.
Be suspicious of anyone who calls claiming you need new Medicare cards or need to pay for a new Medicare advantage plan, Medicaid or Medicaid services. Your coverage isn’t at risk.
Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers often use spoofing technology to mimic real Medicare phone numbers.
Never give out your Medicare, Social Security, credit card or banking info over the phone.
If you think you may have fallen victim to a phone scam, call MEDICARE or ftc to report it.
Free Medical Equipment Scams
Another scam to watch out for is free medical equipment offers. You might get a call claiming Medicare will pay for back braces, knee braces, scooters or other equipment for free.
The scam happens when you provide your Medicare number, and the scammer bills Medicare thousands of dollars for equipment you didn’t need and never got. This is a senior Medicare fraud!
Here’s what you should know:
Medicare does not call to offer free medical equipment. Be very suspicious of unsolicited calls offering free braces, scooters, etc.
Don’t give out your Medicare number to receive “free” equipment or services. This is likely a scam to defraud Medicare using your number.
Legitimate medical providers will not call you out of the blue. They will only contact you at your request.
If you have questions about your Medicare coverage for medical equipment, call 1-800-MEDICARE. Never provide personal information to unsolicited callers.
Fake “Obamacare” Scams
When the Affordable Care Act was passed, scammers started calling seniors claiming they needed to update their Medicare due to “Obamacare” changes. This is completely false.
Here are the facts:
The Affordable Care Act did not change or replace Medicare benefits. Your Medicare coverage stays the same.
There are no special or new cards, U.S numbers or plans related to “Obamacare” and Medicare. Hang up if these are mentioned.
Never give out your Medicare or Social Security number to update your Medicare due to the Affordable Care Act. This is a scam. Scammers aren’t joking about scamming you about Medicare and Medicaid services.
Fake DNA Testing Kits
Here’s a disturbing new scam targeting seniors: scammers claim they need your Medicare number to send you a “free” DNA cancer screening test. They say Medicare will cover the cost.
This is a scam to get your Medicare number for identity theft and fraudulent billing. Here are the red flags:
Medicare does not send DNA tests to patients or cover “free” medical kits. Be very wary of offers for free testing.
Do not share your Medicare number to receive a free medical kit in the mail. Identity theft is likely.
A doctor you know and trust should approve any DNA screenings you get. Don’t trust strangers offering tests.
Protect yourself by being cautious of free medical test offers. Only give your Medicare number to your own providers, never strangers. Call centers for medicare and medicaid to verify.
Tips to avoid common Medicare Scams
In general, here are some red flags to watch out for when it comes to potential Medicare scams:
Unsolicited phone medicare calls or visitors: Medicare does not make unsolicited contact with patients. Hang up and report suspicious calls.
Requests for your Medicare card number: Medicare will not call or visit to ask for your Medicare number. This is always a scam tactic.
Threats your coverage will be cancelled: Your Medicare plan won’t be cancelled; this is meant to scare you into action.
Offers of free medical services or equipment: Medicare does not call to offer free beneficiary’s braces, scooters, testing kits, etc.
Requests for payment over the phone: Medicare won’t ask you to wire money or pay over the phone.
Using high pressure sales tactics: Scammers often rush or pressure you into providing information. Take your time.
“Act now” offers: Scammers want you to act before you can check out their operation. Take time to verify identities.
The bottom line: Medicare will not call you unsolicited and ask for your Medicare number or other personal information. Never provide this over the phone to unknown callers – it’s likely a scam.
How to Protect Yourself from Medicare Scammers
Now that you know what to watch for, here are key ways to protect yourself:
Never give out your Medicare, Social Security, credit card or banking info over the phone. Only share with trusted providers at your request.
Hang up on suspicious callers. Do not engage with or respond to concerning calls.
Be wary of offers for free medical equipment or services. Medicare does not call to offer these.
Verify identities before responding to calls claiming to be from Medicare or government agencies.
Consult a family member or friend if you are unsure about a caller’s legitimacy. Don’t make rushed decisions.
Report scammers to 1-800-MEDICARE. This helps stop scams.
Check your Medicare statements for errors that may indicate identity theft or fraud.
Visit Medicare.gov to verify plan info and enrollment dates – not phone callers.
Protecting yourself starts with awareness – know the common scam tactics so you can outsmart criminals seeking your personal information. Spread the word to family and friends to prevent victims. If you encounter a suspicious call, hang up and report it immediately to protect yourself and others.