Phone scammers will target anyone and everyone. While it is generally assumed the elderly is the most at risk, that isn’t always the case. However, with Medicare open enrollment in season (October 15-December 7), anyone eligible for Medicare could be a target for scammers.
With a 245% increase in the Medicare scam since the beginning of the year, it is garnering more attention and should be publicized.
Hiya’s reports on the Medicare scam contain many similar trends. Be sure to use caution if you receive an unsolicited phone call with any of the following:
- Callers will try to sell consumers Medicare insurance or “advantage plans”. Victims lose personal information by applying for the insurance over the phone or by being directed to a phony application site.
- Callers will try to get users to upgrade their current Medicare coverage or discuss benefits. In order to review the options for their particular account, victims provide their Medicare number to the representative and unknowingly become a victim of identity theft.
- Callers will offer medical supplements or supplies (most popularly, back braces and knee braces – sometimes even a scooter). The items will be offered at “no cost”, however, the victim’s Medicare will be billed.
- Callers will say they are from a Medicare provider and need victim’s birthdate and social security number to process a screening.
It is important to note that callers behind the Medicare scam can be very convincing. With each phone call, they perfect their pitch and know what works. They will hide their real identity by spoofing a number to show the caller ID as “Medicare Advisor” or “Medicare Platinum Plus”.
If you are considering enrolling into Medicare this season or are looking for a legitimate medical supply provider, your best bet is to contact Medicare directly. A good rule of thumb is to never give personal information, including your Medicare number, over the phone unless you made the call yourself.