It’s a shame to say that in today’s environment there are scams popping up like crazy. It isn’t the same world that you grew up in. One of the things that really upset moral and licensed representatives are people that try and prey upon your good sense and take advantage of you or your family.
Today’s criminals have become smarter and smarter with schemes designed to take advantage and hurt you financially regarding Medicare and programs that are available.
One of the biggest problems occurring now is scammers are taking advantage of the Pandemic problem that we are going through. To avoid such scams, there are some things to look out for and avoid.
Don’t Give out your information
This is rule number one, if you get a phone call with someone claiming to be from Medicare, Do NOT Under any circumstance give them your information. First of all, you will NEVER get a phone call from Medicare asking for your personal identification, social security, or banking information.
The best advice we can offer… HANG UP IMMEDIATELY
So how does this scam work? How do they find out who I am? First, Scammer’s purchase data lists with information and phone numbers of individuals who are qualified by age with having Medicare benefits. If you get a phone call from someone you do not know and claim to be from Medicare, it should put up red flags, immediately. Even more so, if the caller has a foreign accent.
The scammer will try and make you feel comfortable by stating that they are with Medicare and say something like Mr./Mrs. Jones, we have noticed that there is unusual activity on your Medicare account. They might even mention the pandemic and tell you there are charges on your account for hospital stays.
They normally continue with a “scare-tactic” by mentioning that if you do not verify your account, you will take a chance on losing your Medicare benefits. Do NOT fall for this tactic, your best chance is to immediately hang up. If you do this, they will call the next number in line.
Why do they do this?
The scam targets typically Seniors over age 65 and by description usually are more trusting than others. They are targeting your personal information. There is a huge marketplace in criminal circles for your social security number and credit card information. Once they have this information, the criminal or scammer will immediately charge your credit card to the limit and then even apply for more credit using your social security number and date of birth.
What options can you take?
First—HANG UP, the scammer can’t do anything else, if you don’t give out your information, they can’t scam you.
Secondly—Report this action. You can call 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477) which is the Health and Human Resource Tip Line. If you make a note of the phone number that called you, it would be helpful to the complaint line.
Third—If you feel that there might be a problem with your Medicare or Medicare benefits, you can call Medicare directly and talk with a representative 1-800-Medicare (800-633-4227)
Here are some other scamming techniques
- Unexpected calls or door knock visitation to offer Covid-19 testing and supplies
- Ignore advertisements for Covid-19 testing supplies or treatments
- Be especially aware of tracers or trackers calling about Covid-19 exposure
- Calling you to get treatment for Covid-19, scaring you about being exposed.
- Getting unsolicited Text messages or even phone calls about Covid-19 from individuals that you don’t know.
- Facebook, Twitter, and other social media feeds claiming there is a problem with Medicare and you should contact them to run a check to see if you have been scammed.
- Contacting you and offering a Covid-19 Wellness kit, (hand sanitizer, mask, etc.) and asking for your information to verify you are eligible. They will say it’s a free kit, all you need is to pay for shipping.
- Masquerading as a receptionist for a local healthcare provider or doctor’s office to set up a “Preventative Covid-19 check. They will then ask for the co-pay to be paid in advance, claiming contactless payment methods.
- Social Media hacks posing as your friends. Often these types of scammers are posing as your friend to get you to call and get your free Anti-Covid kit. Once you call, the scammer will ask for shipping charges to be paid in advance.
Here is a list of places to report Scams
FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) www.ic3.gov
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Complaint assistant www.reportfraud.ftc.gov
Medicare Fraud Division 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477)