If you are on Medicare you need to be aware that you might also be on the radar of scammers and fraudsters who try to steal your personal information or charge your plan for medical services and supplies that you don’t need or receive.
That’s why it’s important to be aware of schemes these crooks use to either scare you into giving them information or money, or to get reimbursements they don’t deserve.
It’s important to be skeptical of anyone who contacts you out of the blue claiming to be from Medicare and telling you they need to update your information, such as your Social Security or Medicare card numbers.
They might also threaten you with a loss of benefits unless you pay a certain amount, or claim that you have money coming to you and all you need to do is give them your bank account information. Don’t fall for any of it because it’s probably a scam.
The government says that Medicare officials won’t contact you by phone or email unless you called them directly and asked to be called back, or if it is a representative from a Medicare plan that you’re already a member of.
If you receive a suspicious call or email asking for this kind of data, call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 and explain what happened.
Another way you might be victimized is through Medicare fraud. That’s when a medical care or services provider tries to make extra money by billing for care or devices you didn’t receive or by giving you unnecessary services or supplies. There are also people who might try to use your information to illegally get medical care under your name.
Experts recommend that you regularly monitor your medical care by keeping track of all appointments, tests, services or hospitalizations on a calendar. That way you have a record you can refer to in case of discrepancies. They also say you should regularly check your information at MyMedicare.gov, Medicare’s free and secure online service for managing personal information regarding benefits, claims and services. You can also learn more about Medicare at Medicare.gov.
Call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 if you suspect fraud. You should also have information about the provider, any service you are questioning, dates and any other details you think would be helpful to report.
Guarding your personal and financial information are important steps to keeping yourself safe from Medicare scams and fraud.