Open enrollment for Medicare runs from October 15th to December 7th this year. If you are eligible for Medicare, you are more likely than ever to be the target of Medicare related scams this year. Medicare scammers are smart and they know exactly what types of scenarios, incentives and stories are most likely to ensnare seniors.
Typical scam calls may be about a refund of premiums, the need for a new Medicare card, false offers of free medical services and bogus Medigap plans. No matter the story used, service offered, or purported identity of the caller, the objective is for the scammer to obtain the senior’s Social Security number by slowly extracting as much personal information as possible from their victim.
Here are some important things for seniors to remember about Medicare to help weed out fake callers:
- Medicare does not make unsolicited calls to plan participants and Medicare’s employees will not ask for personal information unless the senior initiates contact with the agency.
- Medicare is not currently issuing new cards and when Medicare needs to contact participants about such things as new cards and requirements for updated contact information, they will correspond with the senior by mail about those issues.
- If a participant is entitled to any sort of refund a check will be issued and sent via mail. Legitimate health care providers will not require personal information to prove that a participant is entitled to a refund. Also, such refunds are not handled via direct deposit transactions that would require a senior to provide their bank account information.
- Even if a caller happens to know a Medicare recipient’s name, address, names of doctors, etc. it does not mean that they are in fact from Medicare, a Medigap provider or a doctor’s office. Unfortunately this information is not always as secure as we would hope and scammers have been known to frequently access that information.
- Nothing in this world is truly “free.” If someone calls offering free medical services or proposes a scheme to get Medicare to cover services that would not normally be paid for by Medicare, this is a sure sign that something is not right.
- Also, if some claims to be a Medicare sale representative, just hang up the phone. That job does not exist.
If you think you or a family member has been a victim of a scam or identity fraud, contact attorney Nicholas A. Beis at (708) 482-7090 to discuss your rights and options to protect your assets.