This period is the thickness of registration for Medicare. It runs from October 15 to December 7. You may have many questions and you may be searching for your options. But beware, there are scammers who could take advantage of this.
Every year, thousands of seniors fall victim to Medicare scams. In 2021, imposters cheated seniors out of $121 million. But what to watch out for and how to protect yourself?
Why the health insurance scam?
Most people know that identity thieves steal credit card numbers or social security numbers. But medical identity theft is more lucrative. Typically, 65% of Medicare scam victims pay $13,500 or more in fraudulent medical bills.
The health insurance numbers they defraud their victims are used to make false medical claims. They also use your health insurance number to hijack your prescriptions and use them illegally.
Consequences of the health insurance scam
One of the consequences of a medical scam is bad credit. The scammer uses or sells your information, which is then used with healthcare providers. Then, when the additional bills arrive, they arrive in your mailbox. You risk these false accusations ruining your credit. It could take months or years to recover.
You are generally healthy and don’t use your perks often. But the scammer has your health insurance number and is using your benefits. If you are in dire need of health care, you may find that your benefits have run out. There is nothing left for you. Unfortunately, it is difficult to go back and trace it. This is especially true if you are sick.
Your health insurance number has been used or sold. The user may have illnesses that you do not. If you have an emergency, the scammer’s previous treatments on your medical records could conflict with what you need.
For example, your medical records may incorrectly state that you are not allergic to a drug because the scammer was not. But, if you are allergic, there could be disastrous consequences. The Medicare scammer could put your life in danger.
How scammers work
The main information the scammer is looking for is your health insurance number. But they can also try to steal your social security number or your bank account number.
But, unfortunately, they may already have some of your information, which is how they get to you. They will tell you that they are health insurance services and have questions for you.
For example, they may have your home address and phone number. The most cunning ones may even have your date of birth or social security number. It lulls you into a false sense of security.
Once they speak to you, they will ask for your health insurance number. When they have it they have you.
Remember that a Medicare representative will not contact you and ask for your number, because they already have it.
There are many ways these scammers try to trick you into telling your number.
Medicare card scam
Telling yourself that your current Medicare card isn’t valid is a common tactic. If you ask them, they’ll tell you to relax; it’s just your health insurance number they need. The alarm should go off. Your health insurance number is valuable.
Medicare will never call you to tell you the card is invalid. A Medicare card never expires.
If Medicare needs to speak to you, you will receive a letter to arrange a phone interview. And even then, they already have your Medicare number and don’t need to ask for it.
Benefit from free medical supplies
A scammer could ask about your health. For example, if you use a catheter and need supplies, they may have heard of it. This opens the door to calling you with the offer of free medical supplies. They may even offer you free prescriptions.
But for these supplies to be free, you must provide your health insurance number and other information. They may even want your credit card number to pay for shipping.
The scammer is then free to use your Medicare number to bill Medicare for supplies or treatment.
Medicare Identity Verification
Your Medicare coverage will be void if you do not confirm your identity. These are scary words. And the scammer knows it. So they will ask you for detailed personal information such as your health insurance number, social security number, date of birth, banking information, etc.
If you refuse, they will threaten to lose your benefits. They usually come strong. Don’t give in to the pressure. Medicare does not check this way.
Fraudulent refund request
A scammer may call or text you to tell you that you have a refund. But, of course, you will have to give them your health insurance number to receive it. They will also ask for your banking information so that they can deposit the money into your account.
The pressure mounts when the scammer says you’ll lose money if you don’t act now.
How to handle a health insurance scammer
Medicare will never call you to ask for personal information. And they certainly don’t need your health insurance number when they already have it.
If someone calls you and says they need your health number, hang up.
Some of these scammers have a fake Medicare caller ID. Do not fall into the trap. They are just trying to convince you to give them your personal information.
Don’t be a victim of a health insurance scam
Be careful with your personal information. And don’t forget that your health insurance number is as valuable as your social security number. They are both worth the money.
If you are contacted fraudulently or someone asks for your health insurance number, report the incident. You can call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-800-MEDICARE or go online to this website.
The Epoch Times Copyright © 2022 The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or construed as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or other personal finance advice. Epoch Times assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.