What You Need to Know to Avoid Medicare Scammers
Be on the alert for Medicare phone scammers. These scammers may say they’re calling on behalf of Medicare, an insurance company or even a health care provider like Avera.
They may offer a free visit or piece of medical equipment. They may say they want to update your information or help you take full advantage of your benefits. They may say there’s a problem with your account. Medicare scammers will also use fake faxes requesting information, or posing as a retail pharmacy to refill prescriptions.
But what they actually want is access to your personal information in order to commit identity theft – so don’t give it to them.
Unsolicited Calls Are a Sign of a Scam
Avera facilities or insurance representatives do not make unsolicited calls asking for your Medicare ID number, Social Security number or other personal information.
You can ask questions to verify if this caller is actually who they say they are. For example, if they say they are calling from Avera, ask a question like: can you verify that this is Avera by telling me information about my latest visit?
Likewise, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Social Security Administration will not call you to update your information or ask you to disclose financial information in order to get a new card.
How to Avoid the Scam Threat
Unfortunately, scams like this are all too common. When they call you, protect your identity by following these tips:
- Never give out any personal information, including your Medicare or Social Security number.
- Never give your bank information, account number of credit card number.
- Don’t continue the conversation – just hang up.
- Don’t trust caller ID. It may be a spoofed number and the scammer can make it appear as if the call is coming from a local source.
- If you did give out your Medicare number, report it to Medicare and watch your statements for any unauthorized usage of your Medicare number.
- If your Social Security number is compromised, agencies listed below can provide guidance on steps to take to deter any identity theft.
- Remember to write down any information about the scam call if you intend to report it: the time of the call, the number, and the scripting, including what information about you they had already and what information they wanted you to give them.
You can use the phone numbers below to report a scam.
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: 1-800-MEDICARE
- Social Security Administration: 800-772-1213
- Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol: 800-351-4664
- Minnesota Attorney General: 800-657-3787
- Nebraska Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP): 800-234-7119
- South Dakota Attorney General: 1-800-300-1986