Oh, the joy of spam calls. We all get them constantly, it seems. They call about everything, and getting the calls to stop seems impossible. Unfortunately, some people prey on the unsuspecting, especially our Medicare beneficiaries.
Avoiding Medicare scams can be easy, but you must know what to look for. A few confusing things are that it seems like all calls come from a local number, which does not mean it’s someone calling from your area.
Medicare Scams To Watch Out For
As previously stated, Medicare schemes exist in numerous forms. Regardless of the format, all Medicare beneficiaries must put themselves and their personal information, especially from potential scammers and other fraudulent activity. Below are some common ways that these deceptions occur.
Medicare Scam Calls
It’s essential to know that Medicare providers will never call you for information. They’ll send you a letter if they need information from you.
If you receive a phone call stating they’re either of those two, hang up and call the associated office directly unless you requested a call.
Let them know someone called you stating they were with Medicare. Medicare can look up your records to verify and see the reason for the call.
Medicare TV Commercials
Every fall, a new celebrity on TV seems to be talking about Medicare plans and all the “free” stuff you may qualify for. Most people already have plans that include many benefits, but you’ll find it’s a give-and-take.
Many recipients already have the benefits, but their agent didn’t explain them adequately. They don’t realize they have it or how to use it. Like every advertisement, a salesperson on the phone will try to sell you into another plan.
Medicare and Social Media Advertising
Everyone is on social media nowadays. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or some other social media company, advertising will pop up occasionally for you to click on.
Little healthcare advertisements will pop up frequently as we scroll through social media, read articles, look at pictures, or just catch up with friends and family. It’s often based on the things you like or are interested in. Other times, companies have paid to have advertisements on your page.
Internet Advertisements for Medicare
Similar to social media, your web browser will also have advertisements on your search. It will have the word Ad next to the headline. Companies use these to get your information to solicit your products or services.
In most cases, the ads are vetted pretty well by legitimate companies. However, some scammers slip through the cracks.
Pay attention to the URL
These ads are usually from legit companies, but sometimes you will see an advertisement from a scammer. Make sure you are looking at the URL in the address bar of your internet browser window.
Keep an eye out for URLs that, at a glance, look like legitimate, well-known companies but are spelled differently. Occasionally when you click on an advertisement, it will be spelled differently, such as AMAZ0N.com. In the example above, the O is replaced with a zero, and it can be hard to recognize the difference. Make sure it’s the official website.
Filling out Web Forms
Web forms are essential tools in today’s world. Of course, we’d all like the information right now. However, additional questions and answers are sometimes needed for accurate prices and information.
Web forms are the tools used to contact people interested in what a company is trying to sell and a tool for having a knowledgeable representative provide you with the information.
You’ll usually not get the information when the web form is submitted. You will usually get a phone call and email once you complete a form.
Do Not Call List
One of the things you can do is register your phone number on the National Do Not Call registry. By doing this, legitimate companies can’t call you unless you request information. It takes about a month for the calls to stop. You can file a complaint if you still get calls after 31 days.
Most smartphones can download a call blocker. If you install one of these calls from numbers you block, go directly to voicemail. Unfortunately, most companies use different numbers and constantly update their outbound numbers.
How do I recognize a Medicare scam?
As mentioned above, Medicare will never call you to gather or give you information over the phone. If you get a call from someone claiming to be Medicare and wanting you to verify something over the phone, it’s an attempt at identity theft.
You shouldn’t respond to emails from Medicare asking for personal information. Medicare scam calls increase when changes to Medicare occur and during the election periods.
What can a scammer do with a Medicare number?
The Medicare numbers correspond with your or your spouse’s Social Security number. This is no longer the case. Most scam calls say they confirm your information because you’re entitled to additional funds.
They will ask for the Medicare coverage number and the banking or credit card information. They also could say you owe something on your Medicare card and request payment and payment information in an attempt to commit identity theft.
Would Medicare call to update information?
No, Medicare does not make phone calls to update or provide information over the phone. These would come in the form of a letter. This is true even during open enrollment.
Why am I getting so many spam calls about Medicare?
You’ve started receiving so many scam calls because Medicare scamming is a numbers game — the more calls and emails they send out to more people, the more likely they’ll be able to deceive someone. The best way to limit the number of calls you get is to use screening or simply don’t answer a number you don’t recognize.
What should I do if I suspect a Medicare scam?
You should call Medicare itself immediately or visit medicare.gov. The organization regularly deals with these schemes and can go after the scammers on your behalf. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is another good resource.
What is the difference between Medicare fraud and a scam?
A scam is someone using the guise of Medicare to obtain your information for their financial benefit. On the other hand, Medicare fraud refers to making a fake claim — the doctor or patient — to get Medicare to pay for the services illegally.
How do I know if someone is a scammer?
The biggest way to immediately tell if someone is a Medicare scammer is by them asking for your personal information. Medicare or your health care provider will never email or call you asking for this.
How to Sign Up for Medicare Supplement Plans
Work with a trusted company like us if you’re looking to supplement your Original Medicare to get full health insurance benefits. We only partner with the safest and most secure companies in the industry. We can pair you with a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare Part D, or Medicare Supplement coverage that works best for you during your enrollment period.
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