elderly woman on phone with medicare scammer

In this post, we will explore Medicare Scammers. It’s something that often happens to the unsuspecting, and it’s quite unfortunate. We want to use this post to arm you with information that you can use to avoid getting scammed.

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.

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 Offers do Scammers Make?

It’s not always easy to determine when you are getting scammed, but these are some common offers that they use, and you can watch out for them.

  • Offers of free medical supplies- scammers may say they need to verify your coverage and ask for your SSN or Medicare Number. At times, they even request a credit card number, stating that it is needed to cover shipping costs for the free supplies.
  • Identity verification for a new card- they use this method to collect your personal information.
  • Refund offer- scammers use this con to ask for your Medicare Number and bank account information.
  • Medicare scammers will also use fake faxes to request your Medicare Number and other information or pose as a retail pharmacy to refill prescriptions.

Facts about Medicare

Medicare reminds its members that:

  1. It will never call you to sell you anything.
  2. Medicare will never contact you for your Medicare Number or other personal information unless you’ve given them permission in advance.
  3. Medicare will never visit you at your home.
  4. You may get calls from people promising you things if you give them a Medicare Number. Don’t do it.
  5. Medicare can’t enroll you over the phone unless you called first.
  6. Medicare cards do not expire, so there is no need to send you a new one.

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
  • Minnesota Attorney General: 800-657-3787
  • Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol: 800-351-4664
  • Nebraska Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP): 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 (CMS) do not call customers to update their information. They will never ask for your financial information.