Written by Minerva Landon
Unfortunately, the sad reality is that scammers often target older adults, and right now Medicare scams in particular are on the rise. Medicare scammers try to confuse older adults, using deceptive tactics to lure them into sharing their information, like their Medicare number. Knowing what to look out for, and what other things you should be aware of about Medicare scammers, will ensure that you won’t be taken in by them. So use the following tips to help you prevent Medicare scammers from stealing your information.
How Bad Is It?
- More than 1 in 10 elderly people in the US fell victim to elder fraud last year.
- Over 8.68 million incidents of elder fraud occur every year in total.
- Medicare loses an estimated $60 billion each year due to fraud, errors, and abuse.
What Types of Scams Should You Look Out For?
The most common type of Medicare scam involves someone contacting you and offering to send free medical supplies, or promoting some type of incentive that requires you to give your information. This can sound enticing: after all, who doesn’t love freebies? Especially if you’re living on a fixed income, free incentives and offers can feel hard to pass up.
But beware, and be on the lookout for scammers, who will offer to send durable medical equipment at no cost to you as long as you share your Medicare or social security number. These offers will seem very believable, with scammers telling you that they were referred by your doctor. They will contact you via phone, mail, or even email, but know that Medicare will never solicit information from you in this way. Ignore any email or mail you receive that requests information from you, and hang up the phone if someone is offering you freebies from Medicare.
Charging Things to Your Account
Medicare scammers will also try to get your Medicare number and then charge things to your account; you could even end up paying for these things without noticing. And once you pay a statement off without noticing the fraud, the scammer will keep on charging you for things you did not use or buy, such as medical equipment, which they will either use, or more likely, sell.
This means you need to carefully check every Medicare benefits statement you receive. Not reading your statements allows many types of fraud to go unnoticed. Make sure to check your benefits statement and look out for any charges for products or services that you don’t recognize.
Messages, Emails, & Calls
Scammers try their best to scam seniors by using multiple communication methods, such as phone, email, and snail mail. They might pose as a Medicare agent or company that wants to help you save money or help you find a great plan. These scammers run especially rampant during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, which lasts from October 15th through December 7th.
During this time, they will contact you by text message, fliers, email, and phone to try and get your Medicare number and personal information. They will then turn around and use your Medicare number to file bogus Medicare claims. To combat this type of fraud, make sure you never give your personal information to anyone, and know that Medicare will never call or text to ask for money, to help with enrollment, or for any other type of service.
Report Any Fraud Encountered
If you do receive any phone calls, emails, texts, or snail mail, call Medicare immediately and notify them. In addition, you should contact your local US attorney’s office and the State Attorney General’s office to let them know that you have been contacted by suspected scammers.
To keep yourself safe, it’s also important to have a Medicare agent that you trust, one that you can call at any time with benefit questions, or just to make sure you are not being scammed. EZ.Insure is a trusted company that offers just this type of agent. With EZ.Insure, you will receive your very own personal Medicare agent to help you with all your needs, explain your benefits, and steer you in the right direction towards saving money. Your agent will protect your information and make sure you are taken care of. To get free quotes, enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly to an agent, call 888-753-7207.