Protecting Your Wallet – Medicare Scam Calls to Watch Out For
Are you a senior citizen or caregiver of someone over the age of 65? If so, then you should be aware of potential Medicare scams. Medicare fraud is a serious problem, costing taxpayers billions of dollars each year.
Seniors are especially vulnerable to scammers who use a variety of tactics to try and steal their hard-earned money from fake phone calls to bonus offers. They are more likely to trust strangers and are less likely to report scams to the authorities.
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Why Am I Getting so Many Spam Calls About Medicare?
To help seniors protect themselves from the threat of Medicare phone scams, we have put together this handy guide.
Continue reading to discover: what are the top 5 Medicare scams to watch out for:
1. Fake Medicare Card Phone Calls
The scammer will call and inform the senior that they need to provide their Medicare number to receive a new card. They may also ask for bank account information or other personal information.
Seniors should be aware of their rights and know that Medicare will never ask for bank account information or other personal information over the phone. It is also important to remember that Medicare will not issue new cards over the phone.
If you receive a call regarding Medicare, do not trust the name displayed on your phone as scammers can fake a caller ID.
Here are a few tips on how to recognize and avoid Medicare scams:
- Hang up if the caller asks for your Medicare, Social Security, or bank or credit card information. Real Medicare employees already have your Medicare number on file.
- Don’t be rushed into making any decisions. You have until December 7 to enroll in a Medicare plan, and Medicare doesn’t offer additional benefits for signing up early.
- Ignore any threats to take away your benefits. If you qualify, your benefits can’t be taken away just because you don’t sign up for a plan.
- Don’t believe anyone who tells you their plan is preferred by Medicare. The truth is that Medicare doesn’t endorse any particular plan.
It’s important to be aware of these scams so you can protect yourself and your personal information. If you have any questions or suspect a scam, contact Medicare directly for help.
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2. Your Coverage is About to be Cancelled Phone Calls
The caller will tell the senior that their coverage is about to be canceled unless they provide their bank account information. This is a scam and seniors should not provide their bank account information over the phone. If seniors receive a call like this, they should hang up and contact Medicare directly.
3. Early Access to Vaccines Phone Calls
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, so do the scams that come with it. Unfortunately, Medicare scams are on the rise, and one of the most common types of fraud involves calls offering early access to vaccines or testing kits.
In these calls, scammers may ask for a Medicare number or other personal information in exchange for special treatment. It’s important to remember that Medicare doesn’t offer special treatments or early access to vaccines. Any caller claiming to be from Medicare who requests payment is most likely a scammer.
It’s best to hang up on these types of calls and report them. Call Medicare directly at 1-800-MEDICARE or contact their fraud hotline at 1-800-HHS-TIPS.
4. Free Genetic Testing Phone Calls
Scammers will call and inform seniors that they have an appointment for free genetic testing. Medicare does not contact seniors to offer them free genetic testing. If you receive such a call, do not give out any personal information and hang up.
These scammers are trying to steal your information or use it to bill Medicare for the test. Medicare does not make these kinds of calls and they do not offer free genetic testing. Be sure to protect your information and never accept unsolicited tests.
5. You’re Eligible for a Refund Phone Calls
It’s important to understand that Medicare will never randomly call and give refunds. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from Medicare who tells you that you’re eligible for a refund, it’s a scam. They may pressure you into giving them sensitive information by saying you’ll “lose” the money if you don’t act now.
This is false. Medicare or an insurance company will never ask you to verify your information before issuing you a refund. In addition, they will never ask for your banking details.
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FAQs: How to Avoid Becoming a Scam Victim
We have prepared answers to the most common questions related to Medicare call scams, so you are better prepared to protect yourself from fraud.
Q: Does Medicare ever call you on the phone?
A: According to the official Medicare website, there are only two scenarios in which you may receive a call:
- A Medicare health or drug plan may call you if you’re already a member of the plan. The agent who helped you join can also call you.
- A customer service representative from 1-800-MEDICARE can call you if you’ve called and left a message or a representative said that someone would call you back.
Q: How can I protect myself from Medicare scams by phone?
A: Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. Whenever someone calls you claiming to be from a company, hang up and call the company back using the official phone number on the company’s website. Also, don’t press any numbers on your keypad if asked to do so.
To further protect yourself, ask your phone provider what blocking tools they offer for scam calls. Finally, remember to set a password for your voicemail so that scammers cannot spoof it. Taking these simple steps can help protect you from Medicare scam calls.
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How Do I Stop Medicare Scams?
Knowing the top scams to watch out for can help you protect yourself from potential fraud and financial loss. Be sure to always double-check any requests for personal information, and never give your Medicare number or any other sensitive information without verifying the source. Read more in our recent post: Common Senior Scams and Tips to Protect Your Identity.
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