How You Can Help Protect Your Clients from Medicare Fraud - Western Asset Protection
Medicare Fraud

How You Can Help Protect Your Clients from Medicare Fraud

Medicare fraud continues to be a growing concern with seniors frequently being the target of increasingly sophisticated criminals. The FTC reports that imposter scams remained the top fraud category in 2023. This includes scammers posing as Medicare representatives in order to trick Medicare beneficiaries into giving out their personal information, leading to identify theft and the submission of false Medicare claims.

You play an important role in educating your clients on how to recognize these potential threats to avoid being victimized. When you empower your clients with the right knowledge, they can help shut down Medicare fraud.

How Medicare Scams Work

Most Medicare fraud starts with a phone call, but contact can also come in the form of an email or text message. In order to sound legitimate, the scammer has often gathered information about the individual they are contacting such as their full name, address, and date of birth. The types of scams are always evolving. Here are some of the latest schemes to make your clients aware of:

Offers of Free Medical Supplies

This scam offers free medical supplies to the beneficiary telling them that Medicare will cover the cost. This can include items such as diabetic supplies, durable medical equipment (knee and back braces, or wheelchairs), Covid 19 tests, or genetic testing. They will say they need the beneficiary’s Medicare ID number or Social Security number to move forward. They may ask for a credit card in order to pay for shipping costs. Medicare beneficiaries should also never accept unsolicited items received in the mail as they may be fraudulently billed for these.

Medicare Card Renewal or Update

The scammer will tell the beneficiary their Medicare card needs to be renewed, updated, or activated. They may tell the individual they received the wrong card in error, and they need to send a new one. They may offer to replace the paper Medicare card with a plastic one with a chip. In any of these scenarios they will tell the beneficiary they need their Medicare ID number to verify their account and may even request a credit card to cover processing and mailing fees.

Eligible for a Refund

The scammer will tell the beneficiary they are eligible for a refund from Medicare due to an overpayment and will request their Medicare ID number. They may also request bank account information and their social security number in order to process the refund.

Suspicious Activity

The scammer will say there has been suspicious activity on the individual’s Medicare account, and they will request their Medicare ID number and social security number in order to verify their account to help resolve the issue.

Scammers often try to create a sense of urgency by telling the beneficiary their coverage could be cancelled if they don’t respond immediately. They may feel pressured to act quickly. It’s important to take a moment to step back and assess the situation and not allow anyone to manipulate them into doing something they will regret.

How to Protect Personal Information

Let your clients know they should always be skeptical of any unsolicited contact and should always guard their personal information. This includes their Medicare ID number, their full name, date of birth, social security number, bank account and credit card information.

Medicare will not call a beneficiary unless they have already reached out to Medicare seeking assistance. Medicare does not make house calls. If Medicare needs to reach an individual they will send a letter.

Your clients should not answer phone calls from numbers they do not recognize. They should not trust caller ID as spoofing technology allows a scammer to falsely manipulate caller ID to display Medicare as the caller. If they do answer by mistake, they should quickly hang up. They should not click on links in suspicious emails or text messages and should not open any attachments.

It’s also a good practice to check medical claims and statements for any fraudulent activity. This includes dates of service, physicians, services provided, and charges.

Encourage your clients to reach out to you immediately if they receive any suspicious or unsolicited contact fudrom Medicare. You can help them determine if the contact is legitimate. If fraud has occurred let your clients know they should report it immediately to Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

If you have questions the dedicated team at Western Asset Protection is here to help. Contact us today.