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  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 28, 2023 Permalink | Reply
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    AI finds its way into Medicare scams 

    AI finds its way into Medicare scams

    By Greg Collier

    We are currently nearing the end of Medicare’s Open Enrollment period. This is the time of year when Medicare recipients can change their plan from the traditional Medicare coverage to a Medicare Advantage plan, or change back if they so desire. This is also the time of year when scammers specifically target Medicare eligible seniors with their scams.

    When it comes to scams, identity theft poses a significant risk to seniors, especially during Open Enrollment. Scammers often employ tactics such as impersonating government officials, adopting titles like ‘health care benefits advocate,’ to deceive victims. These fraudsters make enticing promises, assuring the victim of enrollment in equivalent or superior coverage at a reduced cost. To accomplish their scheme, the fraudulent agent requests the victim’s personal information, including their Medicare number.

    The stolen Medicare number becomes a tool for these scammers to commit Medicare fraud, involving unauthorized charges for procedures or items. This fraudulent activity has the potential to impact the victim’s benefits in the future. Additionally, scammers resort to high-pressure tactics, such as claiming that the victim’s benefits may expire if immediate information is not provided. In some cases, these deceptive calls may even display Medicare’s official phone number, adding an extra layer of trickery. It is crucial for seniors to be vigilant and cautious to protect themselves from falling victim to such identity theft scams during the Open Enrollment period.

    Though not strictly a scam, certain unscrupulous insurance brokers may exert undue pressure on seniors to switch to their company’s Medicare Advantage plan. While Medicare Advantage plans can offer advantages for some individuals, they may also have limitations that may not suit everyone’s needs. The decision to switch should be based on the individual’s personal healthcare requirements, yet some insurance agents may prioritize making a sale over the well-being of the patient.

    If contemplating a transition from Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan, it is essential to conduct thorough research on the potential benefits and drawbacks. Avoid succumbing to the tactics of salespersons, who may push for a decision that could lead to regret in the following year. Taking the time to make an informed decision ensures that the chosen healthcare plan aligns with individual needs and preferences.

    There is also another potential threat with this year’s Open Enrollment, and not surprisingly, it’s related to AI. Experts are warning that scammers could be using AI-generated voice programs to make scam phone calls sound more authentic. These calls could even be used to try to record a victim’s voice, which could then be used in other voice spoofing scams.

    It’s important to be cautious when receiving calls related to your Medicare plan. Legitimate Medicare plans typically contact their members if necessary, but if you ever feel uneasy during such calls, consider calling your insurance company’s official customer service number to verify the legitimacy of the communication.

    As a general rule, exercise caution about sharing your Medicare or Social Security number over the phone. Medicare and your insurance company already have your information on file and typically don’t need you to provide it again during unsolicited calls. This precaution helps protect you from potential scams or identity theft. Always prioritize your security and verify the authenticity of any calls before sharing sensitive information.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 27, 2023 Permalink | Reply
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    Medicare scammers don’t know you have Medicare 

    Medicare scammers don't know you have Medicare

    By Greg Collier

    Medicare scammers are some of the worst. There are few things more heinous than threatening the elderly with the health benefits they earned in life. Scammers often call their elderly victims, posing as Medicare, while trying to get the victim’s Medicare information. This way, the scammers can file fraudulent claims under the victim’s Medicare policy. The victim’s will often be told benign things like Medicare is issuing a new type of ID card. Or they’ll be threatened with the loss of their benefits if the victim doesn’t comply with the caller.

    Here’s something to keep in mind, though. Most of the time, Medicare scammers are calling people blind, hoping they have Medicare. For example, a man in Indiana receives up to 35 calls a day from Medicare scammers. Except, the man hasn’t reached the age when most people enroll in Medicare. The man believes the reason he keeps getting so many scam calls is because he did what you’re supposed to do with a phone, he answered it. Once scammers know that they’ve reached a legitimate number and there’s an actual person on the other end, they continue to spam that person with phone calls. This isn’t strictly for Medicare scammers, either, as many different types of scammers will employ the same calling technique.

    As far as Medicare scams themselves go, please keep this one piece of information in mind. Medicare will not call you on the phone, unless you called them first with some kind of issue or concern. Medicare will not call you, asking you for your Medicare number. They will also not call you to offer you discounts on medical equipment or supplies. If Medicare does need to communicate with you, they will do so exclusively by postal mail. Even if the caller ID says that it’s Medicare calling, unless you called them first, that’s not them.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 26, 2023 Permalink | Reply
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    Scammers try last-minute Medicare fraud 

    By Greg Collier

    If you are a Medicare recipient and have recently received COVID tests you didn’t order, you might be the victim of Medicare fraud. With the Public Health Emergency around COVID being declared over this month, scammers have been sending COVID tests to Medicare recipients, while billing Medicare at close to $100 a pop. Victims have said they received multiple COVID tests from providers that were outside of their state.

    Now, some Medicare recipients may not think that this is a big deal. They might think they got free COVID tests while Medicare paid for it. So, what’s the big deal? Outside of their Medicare information being compromised, any kind of fraudulent charge billed to Medicare can have negative effects on a policyholder’s benefits.

    If a fraudulent charge goes undetected, the patient may be responsible for paying out-of-pocket for services or supplies they did not receive or need. Medicare has coverage limits for various services and supplies. Fraudulent charges can lead to unnecessary utilization of these benefits, causing patients to exhaust their coverage limits prematurely. If fraudulent claims are submitted using the patient’s Medicare information, it can lead to confusion in medical records and billing systems. This may result in delays, denials, or even the denial of legitimate claims, causing a disruption in the patient’s ongoing care and treatment plans. Lastly, fraudulent claims sent to Medicare increase healthcare costs in general.

    If you receive tests that you didn’t order, contact Medicare immediately at the customer service number on your Medicare card. To help prevent future fraud, policyholders should always review the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statements they receive in the mail. These statements show how a claim was paid and to whom.

    Any suspicious charges or discrepancies should be reported to Medicare’s fraud hotline, so they can try to rectify the situation. Additionally, staying informed about common fraud schemes and protecting personal Medicare information can help reduce the risk of fraudulent activities.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 3, 2023 Permalink | Reply
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    Scam Round Up: AI voice scam finds another victim and more 

    By Greg Collier

    This week in the round-up, we’ll be discussing three scams we’ve discussed before, but have popped up again recently.

    Our first scam is the Medicare card scam. Medicare issued new cards back in 2018 which started using an ID# rather than the recipient’s Social Security number. This was done to help prevent Medicare fraud and ensure patient privacy. Ever since then, scammers have been trying to fool Medicare recipients into believing another new card was being issued. Scammers typically do this to try to steal their victim’s Medicare information.

    The West Virginia Attorney General’s Office has issued a warning which says scammers are calling residents posing as Medicare, the Social Security Administration, or the Department of Insurance. The scammers are telling residents they need to turn in their paper Medicare cards for new plastic ones. This is not true. If Medicare were to issue new cards, they would announce it through the mail and not by calling Medicare recipients.

    The next scam pertains to families who have a loved one who is currently incarcerated. The Georgia Parole Board has issued their own warning to the families of the incarnated. They’ve reported scammers are calling the families and asking for money for the release of their family member. The scammers claim the money is needed for an ankle monitor before the inmate could be released.

    According to the parole board, they will never call anyone’s family asking for money. Georgia residents are advised to check with the parole board’s website before to determine the current parole status of their family member.

    Our final scam is one that’s not that old and has been in the news a lot lately, the voice spoofing scam. Scammers are taking voice recordings from social media or spam phone calls and feeding it to an AI program that can replicate that person’s voice. So far, it’s mostly been used in the grandparent scam, and the virtual kidnapping scam.

    An elderly coupe from Texas fell victim to the grandparent scam when they heard the voice of their grandson asking for help. The AI-generated voice said they were in an accident in Mexico and needed $1000. Believing he was talking to his actual grandson, the grandfather sent the money.

    If you receive a call like this, don’t believe your ears, as they can be deceived. Instead, try to contact the person who is supposedly in danger before sending any money.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 8, 2023 Permalink | Reply
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    Scam Round Up: Scammers use fallen officer’s name and more 

    By Greg Collier

    Our first story in this edition of the Round Up is a reminder to Medicare recipients that Medicare will not reach out to you by phone unsolicited. Scammers often try to obtain a recipient’s Medicare information by posing as Medicare and offering victims a new Medicare card. In the past, scammers have offered new plastic cards to victims. However, Medicare does not use plastic cards. More recently, scammers have said Medicare is sending out new cards to all recipients because of COVID. One of the main tip-offs to this scam is that Medicare doesn’t need your Medicare number, as they already have it. If anyone calls you asking for your Medicare number, there’s a good chance they’re a scammer.


    Speaking of COVID, even though we’re on the other side of the pandemic, scammers are still using the virus to their advantage. Scammers are still offering at home COVID tests as a way to get either your financial or insurance information. The scammers will offer these supposed tests over the phone while telling their victim they qualify for the free tests under their health insurance. Or, the scammers will ask for payment information for a small shipping fee. In either case, no test is ever sent, and the victim’s information is used for fraud.

    If you need some at home COVID tests, you can still get them for free through the USPS website.


    Our last story is another example showing there are no depths scammers won’t stoop to. In Tennessee, scammers are using the name of a Sheriff’s Deputy who fell in the line of duty. The scammers are looking for victims on dating apps and threaten them with arrest using the fallen officer’s name. Money is then extorted from the victim.

    While law enforcement does often patrol dating apps looking for potential predators, they will never threaten someone with arrest if they’re not paid.

    If someone calls or contacts you like this, threatening arrest if you don’t pay them, hang up and call your local police. Once you explain to them what happened, they’ll be able to tell you that it’s a scam.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    It’s the season for more scams against seniors 

    It's the season for more scams against seniors

    By Greg Collier

    Senior citizens are often the targets of scams because of a perceived unfamiliarity with technology. This is a recurring theme throughout the year. However, until December 7th, seniors will be the target of even more scams. That’s because now is the open enrollment period for Medicare. Until December 7th, Medicare recipients will be able to decide if they want to stay with their current Medicare coverage or switch to a new insurer. Unfortunately, open enrollment is also open season for Medicare scammers.

    The most prevalent scam seniors will have to look out for are identity theft schemes. Scammers will call their senior victims, posing as either Medicare or some other insurer. The scammers will try to get their victims to give them their personal information by asking the victim to verify their identity. In some instances, scammers will try to get the victim’s personal information by promising them better benefits at a lower cost.

    It’s not just identity theft the scammers are after, either. Medicare fraud has been a growing problem for years. Medicare scammers could use their victim’s Medicare information to file for fraudulent benefits. Not only does this make Medicare more expensive, but could also limit a recipient’s benefits in the future.

    Please keep in mind that Medicare or some other insurer is probably not calling you. Even if the number shows up on your phone as Medicare, the odds are the call isn’t from them. Phone numbers can be easily spoofed to make the call appear like it’s coming from Medicare.

    In the majority of cases, if you feel the need to change your coverage, you need to call Medicare or your insurer. If someone calls you claiming to be from Medicare during open enrollment, you can hang up the call. You are not required to take any calls that appear to be from Medicare. Then call Medicare or your insurer from the number on the back of your insurance card.

    And always remember to never give your Medicare or insurance ID number to any strangers over the phone.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 26, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    Scam Round Up: Funeral scammers and more 

    Scam Round Up: Funeral scammers and more

    By Greg Collier

    It’s been a while since we had a scam round up. To any new readers, this is where we bring you a number of short scam stories. These stories usually can either be told quickly or are reminders of past scams.


    Earlier this month, we posted a story warning victims of floods to look out for scammers posing as FEMA agents. We also warned that scammers might also file FEMA claims in the victim’s name, while claiming any financial assistance for themselves.

    A report out of Kentucky, where floods recently devastated a portion of the state, says that flood victims are starting to see FEMA agents show up to their home when they never filed a claim. One victim had a FEMA claim filed under her maiden name and had FEMA agents show up to her home looking to make an inspection.

    If you think a FEMA claim might have been filed in your name, contact the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-3362.


    Speaking of government agencies, Medicare is probably the most targeted agency when it comes to scammers. What makes it worse, is that the scammers need someone enrolled in Medicare to scam the government.

    The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning about the latest Medicare scam targeting recipients. Scammers are calling Medicare recipients and offering them free COVID-19 tests. Scammers actually want the recipient’s Medicare information, so they can fraudulently bill Medicare for a service or item the insured never receive.

    Please keep in mind that free COVID tests are easily available through the USPS website and are available to anyone.


    Lastly, we think this story might just be the lowest we’ve ever seen scammers stoop, and that covers a lot of ground.

    Recently, a family from Illinois had to deal with the tragic loss of their 16-year-old son. When a tragedy like this makes the local news, it’s almost a guarantee that the GoFundMe scammers come out of the woodwork, and that’s exactly what happened. Fake GoFundMe pages started springing up claiming to be collecting for the family. But that wasn’t the worst thing that happened.

    According to the family, there were scammers who were physically at their son’s funeral collecting money from mourners, stating that they were collecting for the family. Thousands of dollars were allegedly collected by the scammers at the funeral.

    GoFundMe is actually pretty good when it comes to cracking down on scammers once notified. They’ve stated that the money given to the phony GFM pages has not been released to scammers and can be returned to anyone who donated.

    It’s a travesty that a family dealing with the loss of a child had to deal with such a disregard for human decency.

    Unfortunately, we don’t have a recommendation on how to keep scammers out of funeral. It seems like such a grim thought to think that a funeral might need security.


  • Geebo 8:00 am on November 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    New Medicare card scam is back 

    By Greg Collier

    Currently, we are in the middle of Medicare’s open enrollment period. This is the time of year when Medicare recipients can either stay with their current coverage or seek out a new plan. As we have previously mentioned, open enrollment is also open season for Medicare scammers. This is the time of year when many scammers use Medicare’s open enrollment as an opportunity to try to steal their victims’ Medicare information. The stolen information can then be used to file fraudulent Medicare claims.

    One of the ways scammers get this information is to pose as Medicare and call people to tell them they’re getting a new Medicare card. The scammers will then ask the victim to ‘verify’ their Medicare number and other information so they can issue a new card. A woman in Tennessee was approached by scammers over the phone and was told she was getting a new Medicare card that had a chip in it like a debit or credit card. The woman even asked if the caller was from Medicare or a third party, and the scammer claimed to be from Medicare. The woman knew this was a scam and gave the caller some phony information before hanging up on them.

    The main thing to keep in mind with Medicare scams is that unless you have an ongoing issue with your Medicare coverage and have spoken to an actual Medicare rep, Medicare will never call you. Any major communications that Medicare has with its recipients is done through the postal mail, that includes when new cards are to be issued. If someone calls you claiming to be from Medicare, hang up, even if the caller ID says they’re calling from Medicare. As we’ve known for some time, any phone number can be spoofed.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    Medicare open enrollment brings out scammers 

    Medicare open enrollment brings out scammers

    By Greg Collier

    This Friday, October 15th 2021, starts the period known as Open Enrollment for all Medicare recipients. Until December 7th, Medicare recipients will be able to decide if they want to stay with their current Medicare coverage or switch to a new insurer. With so many options to choose from and so many changes made each year, it can be difficult for seniors to keep up with all the necessary policies and paperwork each year. Unfortunately, Open Enrollment is also open season for Medicare scammers and fraudsters. Not only are there scams to go along with Open Enrollment, but some bad business practices as well.

    While not technically a scam, some less than reputable insurance brokers will try to pressure seniors into switching to their company’s Medicare Advantage plan. While Advantage plans can be beneficial to some, they can also be limiting to others. It all depends on the patient’s personal needs, but some insurance agents are just looking for the sale. If you’re thinking about switching from Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan, please take the time to research the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. Don’t let some salesman pressure you into a decision that you may regret having for the following year.

    As far as scams go, identity theft is often the biggest threat seniors face during Open Enrollment. Scammers will call their victims posing as being from the government with an official-sounding title like ‘health care benefits advocate’, or something along those lines. The victim will be promised that they’ll be signed up for the same or better coverage at a lower price. The phony agent will ask for all the victim’s personal information, including their Medicare number. Medicare fraudsters will then use the stolen number to charge Medicare with fraudulent procedures or items which could affect the victim’s benefits down the line. These scammers will also use high-pressure tactics to get the victim’s information, like telling the victim their benefits could expire if they don’t give their information right now. The calls can even appear as they’re coming from Medicare’s official phone number.

    If you’re already enrolled in Medicare, your Medicare plan will only call you if you’re already a member of that plan. If you feel uncomfortable taking the call, you can always call your insurance company’s customer service number on the back of your insurance card.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , genetic testing, , medicare, ,   

    Scam Round Up: Beware of these Medicare scams 

    By Greg Collier

    There have been a number of stories about Medicare scams in the news this week. Unfortunately, they all deal with victims giving their Medicare numbers to scammers over the phone. Here are the highlights of each scam.


    The AARP is warning Medicare recipients across the country about a phone scam where the fraudsters are threatening victims with termination of their benefits. The scammers are posing as Medicare and calling seniors across the country, telling the seniors that they need a new Medicare card or their benefits will be terminated. The scammers will then ask the victim for their Medicare number for the supposed new card. Instead, the scammers are selling the Medicare numbers to other scammers, who may use the numbers to file false claims. When Medicare does issue new cards, they do so through the mail and will not call recipients asking for information that Medicare should already have.


    Patients of a healthcare network in Missouri have reported receiving calls from scammers posing as hospital representatives. This includes spoofing the hospital’s actual phone number. Many of the calls have been trying to get patients to order medical equipment like back and knee braces. The scammers have been asking for patients’ Social Security and Medicare numbers. You should only order medical equipment like this if directed by your physician. To do so any other way could lead to fraudulent claims or ill-fitting and ineffective equipment. No physician or medical professional will ever call you unsolicited to try to sell you any medical equipment.


    Lastly, we have another scam that’s been targeting Medicare recipients nationwide. In this scam, again, the victims are being cold-called, which is something Medicare will never do. The scammers are claiming to be a patient advocate working with Medicare. They offer free genetic testing to detect cancer or heart disease, but if you don’t act soon, you’ll be ineligible for the free procedure. Again, Medicare does not make offers on medical procedures like it’s double coupon day at your local supermarket. Usually, if a test is ordered through one of these calls, it either never appears or is dubious in quality and efficacy. This could also affect patients in the future if they need one of these tests, but already have one billed to Medicare. These tests are quite expensive, and this scam could lead to patients having a substantial medical bill in the thousands.


    It really is just good practice to not give your Medicare number out over the phone, especially to someone who calls you out of the blue.

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