How Do Medicare Phone Scams Work
Across the country, seniors may receive calls from scam operators who claim to represent Medicare or a different insurance provider. They usually claim that the seniorâs Medicare card has expired, prompting the release of personal information like name, address, Medicare number, or Social Security number.
From offers for free medical supplies and entitlement to refunds to attempts to verify your identity, all of these calls are examples of a scam you should run far away from.
Sharing personal information with these telephone criminals can result in identity theft, fraud, or monetary theft.
Medicare And Social Security Scams
Minnesota senior citizens report being targeted by a new scam: fraudulent operators who pretend to be calling about Medicare, Social Security, or supplemental insurance, but whose actual purpose is to trick seniors into disclosing their private financial information. Disclosure of such information can lead to identity theft or unauthorized withdrawals from a personâs bank account. Consider the following to help prevent this scam from happening to you, or someone you care about.
Medicare & Social Security Scams: What You Need To Know
Social Security scams continue to target seniors, and since 2020, the number of scam calls has increased. These scam callers are committing fraud towards seniors, and your safety matters to us. We want to ensure that youre prepared to protect yourself from scams and that you know how to report scam callers.
Recommended Reading: How To Get A Power Wheelchair Through Medicare
Reporting Medicare Fraud & Abuse
Medicare fraud and abuse can happen anywhere, and usually results in higher health care costs and taxes for everyone. Some examples include:
- A provider that bills Medicare for services or supplies they never gave you, like charging you for a visit you never had, or a back brace you never got.
- A provider that charges Medicare twice for a service or item that you only got once.
- A person who steals your Medicare number or card and uses it to submit fraudulent claims in your name.
- A company that offers you a Medicare drug plan that Medicare hasnt approved.
Fake Medicare Calls And Other Scams Seniors Should Be Aware Of
Medicare beneficiaries are targeted by scammers and identity thieves all year long, but fraudulent activity tends to increase around the Medicare Open Enrollment period that runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. Protect yourself and your loved ones by learning about the most common Medicare scams and how to determine whether communication from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is legitimate.
Don’t Miss: Is Spinal Decompression Covered By Medicare
Common Types Of Phone Scams
“We want to talk about recent changes to Medicare.”“You’ve won a free trip!” “You’ve won a gift card!”
- If you call Priority Health and receive a message you have won a trip or gift card, your call may have been “hijacked” – re-directed to someone who wants to trick you. Hang up immediately and call the number again. Your second call should go through correctly. Please report this to Priority Health.
- If you get a call offering you a free trip, gift card or other prize, don’t give out your bank account or credit card number to pay for “shipping” or other fees. These calls are a scam just to get your financial information so the caller can clean out your account.
“You qualify for free medical equipment.”“Get this valuable item free if you enroll!”
Medicare Scam Phone Calls That Seniors Should Avoid
While we choose to believe in the good in people, itâs always best to be cautious just in case. Seniors receiving Medicare are commonly targeted by scammers who are on the hunt to steal identities, money, or more. Medicare scam phone calls specifically ramp up during Medicare Open Enrollment, which takes place annually, October 15 â December 7.
As we approach this important time, it is vital that you are aware of what Medicare scam phone calls are out there and what to do if you receive them, so that you can better protect yourself and your loved ones.
Aggressive Or Threatening Tactics
Fraudulent sellers of Medicare plans may call many times throughout the day, leave numerous voice mails, or call you back even after you hang up.
Some use threats to gain compliance. For example, a caller might tell you that your Medicare plan will be canceled if you do not give them your information, or threaten to have you arrested if you don’t verify your identity. The government will not call you and threaten you about your Medicare plan.
Medical Alert Robocall Impersonating Real Companies
Many of the seniors who reported receiving these calls were on the Federal Do Not Call Registry, making it all the more suspicious.
Scammers make similar robocalls claiming to be from real companies. Some of these organizations are First Alert Company, Medical Emergency, Medical Alert Company, Life Alert, or Lifewatch USA.
Also Check: Does Medicare Cover Foreign Travel Emergencies
What Do I Do If I Receive A Medicare Scam Call
If you receive a Medicare scam call, hang up.
Speaking to the Medicare phone scammers, even to tell them off, can encourage more scammers to call your number. If calls persist, consider discussing certain scam blocking features with your phone company.
After receiving a Medicare scam phone call that asks for your Medicare number or other personal information, reach out to 1-800-MEDICARE â TTY:â¯1-877-486-2048.
If you have already discussed personal information on the phone that you now believe is in the wrong hands, contact the Federal Trade Commission to protect yourself from the damages of identity theft.
Reporting A Medicare Scam
If someone has tried to scam you or if you have been scammed, use the phone numbers below to report the incident.
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: 1-800-MEDICARE
- South Dakota Attorney General: 1-800-300-1986
- Social Security Administration: 800-772-1213
- Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol: 800-351-4664
- Nebraska Senior Health Insurance Information Program : 800-234-7119
For information, you can visit the Medicare website.
If patients report any form of Medicare scam to you, kindly remind them:
- Sioux Center Health or insurance representatives do not make unsolicited calls asking for your Medicare ID number, bank or credit card details, Social Security number, or other personal information.
- The Social Security Administration and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services do not call customers to update their information. They will never ask for your financial information.
You May Like: What Is Step Therapy In Medicare
What You Need To Know
Who Do Medicare Scammers Target
Medicare scammers target primarily the elderly however, anyone can be a victim to their scams. Since the start of COVID-19, targeting of the elderly has increased substantially. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General states that it has received over 1,500 fraud complaints related to COVID-19 Medicare scams.
Recommended Reading: What Age Does A Person Qualify For Medicare
New Us Medicare Cards Prompt Warnings About Phone Scams
5 Min Read
Navigating Medicare can be complicated, but one big change recently introduced requires that you do absolutely nothing beyond opening an envelope. In fact, doing just about anything else could open the door to a damaging identity-fraud scam.
Medicare is mailing out new identification cards to 59 million Americans this year and in early 2019. The old Medicare cards use Social Security numbers as identifiers the new cards use a unique, randomly assigned number. The changeover is part of a sweeping federal initiative to bolster defenses against fraud by reducing the widespread use of Social Security numbers as identifiers throughout the government.
Trouble is, phone scammers are taking the card replacement program as an opportunity to target seniors. The most common trick is to call Medicare enrollees and tell them they must pay for their new cards, then request their bank account information or Social Security numbers.
That opens the door to identity theft.
We are hearing from people who have been told their Social Security payments will stop coming unless they give the caller their personal information, or that they cant send the new Medicare card unless they get a payment, said Amy Nofziger, a fraud expert with AARP.
Unfortunately, weve got a failure to communicate, to paraphrase the 1967 film classic Cool Hand Luke.
Does Medicare Call Your House Or Is This Medicare Fraud
I have a problem and I need your help. I am a 79-year-old female who lives alone in Meyerland. Yesterday, a representative from Medicare called me asking all types of personal questions. I told them, I did not give personal information over the phone. Im concerned this could be a scam, but then if it was Medicare, Im concerned I could have made a mistake. Can you please advise me what I should do or where I could call to see if Medicare is trying to contact me? Thanks in advance Alice from Houston, TX
Dont Worry Alice:
You can relax because you were correct not to give your personal information over the phone due to the fact that Medicare or even Social Security does not randomly call your home or office and ask for your personal information. Medicare already has all of the information they need about you. Medicare or Social Security will never call you! They generally will send you a letter to let you know you need to contact them.
Here are a few tips to help protect you against Medicare fraud:
Do not carry your Medicare card with you. Keep it in a safe place.
Never give your Medicare or Social Security number to strangers, especially those who call you on the phone or come to your door. Just like you tell your grandkids not to talk to stranger, you need not talk to them either. Play the Stranger Danger game.
Do not accept offers from door to door sales people. Watch out who you let in your house.
Never sign a blank form.
Does Medicare Call You At Home
When enrolling in Medicare, you should be aware that neither Social Security nor Medicare calls you to get information. Should any issue arise in which Medicare or Social Security needs any information from you, theyll ALWAYS send you a letter to notify you. If youre getting too many spam phone calls, you might want to get on the Federal Trade Commissions Do Not Call list. Medicare beneficiaries are likely to receive phone calls once they become eligible for Medicare
Get A Free Quote
Find the most affordable Medicare Plan in your area
You can get back to enjoying your day in peace after following any of the ways to put an end to spam calls or most of them anyway. You must be looking for a way to get on the Medicare Do Not Call list. Beneficiaries often see an influx in spam calls when becoming eligible for benefits.
There is light at the end of the tunnel you can register your number with the Federal Trade Commission. Below we can teach you how to join the Do Not Call list. Further, we discuss how to know when Medicare is calling you, and when its a scam.
What Can A Scammer Do With Your Medicare Number
A scammer could say there is a balance on your Medicare card and request your credit card number. Clearly, this is a scam. Or, in some cases, the scammer could say they want to refund money back to you and need your bank information. In either of these scenarios or similar situations, do not give out your personal information. Medicare will never call you asking for bank information or credit card numbers.
Read Also: Does Medicare Cover Hepatitis A Vaccine
How Do Scammers Contact You
Scammers may contact you using various means. More often than not, they use phone calls to carry out their scams. These dishonest persons call people claiming to be from Medicare. They request money and personal information. Medicare.gov advises that con artists may try to get your Medicare Number or other personal information. Once they access this data, they will steal your identity and engage in Medicare fraud. If you receive a call like this and the person asks you for your Social Security number or bank information to get your new card or new benefits, hang up right away. Scammers also use channels like US mail, email, fax, and door-to-door visits to commit fraudulent activities.
What You Should Know To Avoid Covid
Scammers are rapidly altering their tactics and adapting their schemes to target the COVID-19 vaccine to prey on unsuspecting beneficiaries. Be vigilant and protect yourself from potential fraud concerning COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Heres what you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine:
- You will not pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine during this public health emergency.
- You cant pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.
- You cant pay to get early access to the vaccine.
- Nobody legit will call you about the vaccine and ask for your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number. Thats a scam.
- No one from Medicare, the health department, a vaccine distribution center or a health insurance company will contact you to ask for your Social Security number, your credit card or bank account information to sign you up to get the vaccine.
Don’t Miss: Are Medicare Premiums Based On Income
How To Protect Yourself From Medicare Scams
Guard your personal information and contact Medicare if you have any questions or concerns. A good rule of thumb is not to give out potentially sensitive information over the Internet or phone.
However, if you have called to join a Medicare Advantage Plan or Prescription Drug Plan , you may be legitimately asked to provide identifying information over the phone. You may also be asked for this information if you use the online Medicare Plan Finder tool to shop for or enroll in Part C or Part D Plans. Be aware that none of these entities should ever ask for financial information like credit card or bank account numbers over the phone.
According to Medicare.gov, beneficiaries should only give private information to their doctors, insurers acting on their behalf, and trusted people in the community who work with Medicare, such as State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselors.
You may always contact the customer service number on the back of your Medicare card if you have any questions or concerns. If you think you may have provided personal information to a fraudulent caller or believe you are a victim of identity theft, report it to the Federal Trade Commission online at IdentityTheft.gov or by calling the ID Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338.
Iowa Medicare Beneficiaries Targeted By Medicare Card Scams
Submitted on Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Des Moines – Iowa seniors and Medicare beneficiaries are encouraged to be aware of current Medicare card scams in our state. To learn more about Medicare scams impacting Iowans, register for our live event on Friday, April 23, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. at .
Its important for Iowans to protect their Medicare number and not give it to unknown callers, SHIIP/SMP Director Kristin Griffith said. Medicare will rarely contact you by phone, and if so, you can also hang up and call Medicare back to confirm that the call is legitimate and not a scam.
Medicare scams include the following:
If you suspect Medicare fraud, errors, or abuse contact Iowa SHIIP/Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-800-351-4664 or www.smp.iowa.gov.
Also Check: Is Stem Cell Treatment Covered By Medicare
Should I Give My Medicare Number Over The Phone
Because many Medicare recipients have received new Medicare cards since 2018, scam calls encouraging the âactivationâ of these cards are on the rise. You do not need to activate a Medicare card, update your information, or pay any kind of fee to use your new card once you receive it.
You should not share your Medicare number or any other personal information with anyone who contacts you over the phone, unless you have arranged the conversation in advance.
The bottom line â only give your personal information to those who you can guarantee are real people trying to help you, like doctors, insurers, or trusted Medicare professionals.