Scammers are very tricky. Every year they find more insidious ways to steal identities and bank information. That’s why you need to be on the lookout for some of the most common Medicare Scams!
1. Your Medicare is Going to Be Canceled!
“Your Medicare is about to be canceled!” Oh no, what do you do? Don’t do anything! This is a common Medicare scam. “We’ve been trying to get in touch with you. This is your last warning or your Medicare will be cancelled.” Now you’re on the hook, but first they need you to verify your identity. STOP! They are fishing for your private information, possibly you to steal your identity or your Medicare card number. Remember, your Medicare number is unique, like social security. Never give it out. And remember, Medicare will never call you unless you request a phone call from 1-800-MEDICARE.
2. We Need to Send You A Replacement Card
Another common scam revolves around card replacement. Someone may pretend that they’re calling from Medicare to send you a new Medicare card for updated security measures. But first, they’ll ask you to confirm your card information and identity. WRONG! Again, Medicare will never call you without your request. These scammers can be rather sophisticated. The caller ID may even make it seem genuine.
3. Fake Medical Bills
This next one is very insidious. You may get a medical bill you don’t recognize. But, perhaps you had a procedure done recently and you can’t remember that doctor’s name. Maybe, it was so long ago…maybe this is the bill for that…OR maybe Medicare just didn’t cover the medical service the way you thought. It’s all so confusing anyway! And you go ahead and pay it. Well guess what? You just got scammed! Some of these scammers set up dummy corporations knowing you may just go ahead and pay unidentified medical bills.
4. Covid Vaccinations
Another one going around right now has to do with Covid. Hopefully, this one will fade as time wears on. Currently people are calling seniors offering early access to a vaccine or a way to put your name on the vaccination list…for a price. Don’t fall for it. This is just another Medicare Scam.
5. Free Genetic Testing
You may receive a call offering you free genetic testing to screen you as a likely candidate for a certain type of cancer or disease. They’ll claim that Medicare will cover the free swab and ask for your Medicare ID or other personal information. Unless you have discussed this with your doctor, this is a scam.
6. Fake Mailers Galore
Mailers can be tricky. Around the enrollment periods, your mailbox may be flooded with advertisements. Some of them will be genuine and others will be false. You can logon to Medicare.gov to peruse all the available plans or contact a licensed broker.
7. Free Medical Supplies
You may also get phone calls offering you free medical supplies. They may even have some information regarding a medical condition. They can trick you in a few ways. One, they may offer you “free” medical supplies, but they need your credit card for shipping. Once they’ve got your credit card, you’ll probably never see those supplies. Also, it may be a bait and switch and they’re really just softening you up to buy something. Don’t fall for it!
8. You May Be Entitled to a Refund!
Finally another common scam is the offer of a refund. A caller will claim you’ve been overcharged. They just need your Medicare number to confirm your identity and of course, your bank information so they can have the money returned to you.
Avoiding A Medicare Scam
Just remember, Medicare will never call you unless you requested a call back from 1-800-Medicare. They also will never come to your door. If you need to speak with Social Security, you’ll receive a letter, so always be wary of cold calls especially those asking for your private information. And, of course, stay on top of your billing to make sure there is no unauthorized activity.
If you think you’ve discovered a scam, you can call Medicare (1-800-MEDICARE) or the tips hotline (1-800-HHS-TIPS)
To ensure you sign up for the right plan, we recommend working with a licensed broker. You can reach us here at iHealthBrokers at 888-918-0518 or schedule a call today.
Jesse Smedley is the Principal Broker for iHealthBrokers and the founder, president, and CEO of Smedley Insurance Group, Inc. and iHealthBrokers.com. Since the inception of SIG in 2007, Jesse has been dedicated to helping people save money on their health insurance by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their health insurance options, both under age 65 and Medicare beneficiaries. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for expert columns regarding health insurance and Medicare.