GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - All too often seniors are the target of scams and fraud, but there are steps you can take to prevent your loved one from being hit.
Rachel Von Ruden, Senior LinkAge Line Outreach Specialist has some information to help protect seniors.
Seniors are often a target because they are more likely to have a "nest egg" tucked away. They may too embarrassed to report that they've been scammed or they don't know where to report it. "Minnesota Nice" may also set seniors up as targets. They are just too nice to believe that someone would take advantage of them.
One of the areas that scammers target the elderly is with Medicare fraud. This happens when Medicate is billed for services or supplies that were never received. Or getting billed twice for the same service. Seniors can also be billed separately for services that should be included in a single service fee.
Here are some tips for protecting yourself from Medicare fraud:
- Review your Medicare Summary Notice to make sure claims made to Medicare are accurate
- Check your clinic bills and pharmacy receipts for accuracy
- Guard your Medicare Number, it has a lot of private information on it.
- Be skeptical of free deals (if it sounds too good to be true, it is)
- Be skeptical of high-pressure sales tactics
- Medicare does not call or visit to sell you anything
- Medicare cannot enroll you over the phone unless you initiate the call
- Medicare does not call you to ask for your bank account number
- If Medicare needs to contact you, they will mail you a letter
There are reports nationwide that scammers are calling Medicare beneficiaries and claiming they need to re-authorize their Medicare and they need to confirm there information. Do not give out your social security number. Medicare numbers are no longer social security numbers. New cards will be issued April 1 2018 through Dec. 21 2019.
Don't open emails or attachments that look like they are from the Social Security Administration or Medicare. Call to confirm they are trying to reach you.
To report fraud call 1-800-MEDICARE or go online to www.StopMedicareFraud.gov.
There are other types of scams that target seniors as well. There's the Grandparent scam, IRS scam and the Microsoft scam.
No matter what new ways scammers try here are some of the main tips to avoid it:
- Guard your Medicare number
- Treat all unsolicited phone calls with skepticism.
- If someone is pressuring you, slow down and think it through.
- Don’t give away your private information without vetting the source.
- If you have questions or concerns call Senior LinkAge Line®, at 1-800-333-2433