The United States loses billions each year in Medicare and Medicaid fraud scams targeted at the elderly. Knowledge is power, and by educating your parents on the scams that exist, you can protect your loved ones and their needed benefits.
The Milk/Grocery Scam
This scam promoter offers free milk, groceries, or another product or service and generally follows this process:
- Promoter visits adult living facilities, senior communties, or government program offices.
- Promoter approaches individuals and tells them that Medicare, Medicaid, or a private insurance company wants to take care them, or is conducting a provider survey.
- The promoter gives individuals milk, groceries, offers to clean their home, or delivers equipment and assures the individual that the items have been paid for by the government or an insurance company.
- The promoted asks the individual to complete a form verifying the visit, and the form requests the Individuals Medicare, Medicaid, and/or insurance information.
- The promoter leaves contact information promising to return with more items, and asks for the names of others who may benefit from this service.
Free Medical Evaluations/Testing
Here, the promotional items are medical tests and evaluations.
- Scammers reach their targets by using phone solicitations, newspaper ads, and coupons.
- Mobile testing centers are set up at shopping malls, retirements communities, fraternal organzations, civic groups, and conventions.
- The customer is asked to complete a form to receive the tests, and the form requests the Medicare, Medicaid, insurance, and/or social security numbers.
Telemarketing/Boiler Room Scams
In this phone scam, Medicare numbers are requested over the phone.
- Telemarketing companies identify specific targets through mailing lists, and contact consumers.
- The caller uses a high-pressure sales pitch to obtain Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, or social security numbers. The sales pitch is deliberately misleading in that it appears the caller is a government or insurance company representative.
$299, $389, $399 Scams
These scams are even more dangerous in that the caller is not only after Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, and/or social security numbers, but these callers are also seeking bank account numbers to access your parents’ cash.
- The telemarketer calls and identifies themselves as a prescription drug plan.
- The caller offers to provide a full year of prescription drugs for one payment of $299, $389, or $399.
- The customer is told the only payment can be made from a automatic direct withdrawal, and asks for Medicare, Medicaid, insurance, and bank account numbers so the prescriptions can begin at the first of the month.
- The money is withdrawn, often the account is emptied, and no drugs arrive.
Arthritis Kit Scam
The victims in this scam are promised relief from arthritis, diabetes, poor circulation, back aches, swelling, muscle soreness, or hand/ankle inflammation. The scammer claims persons with Medicare Part A and B can obtain this kit for free, and can even qualify for a special heating pad and heat lamp. You guessed it, all they have to do is turn over their Medicare numbers. The truth is, there is no such thing as a Medicare Arthritis Kit.