Beware Medicare scams
Every year during health insurance open enrollment season, scammers try to dupe unsuspecting consumers into sharing their personal information.
You may receive a call (or recorded message) from someone who claims to be helping you navigate your Medicare options. They may call themselves a “healthcare benefits advocate” or a similar title.
The caller says they can enroll you in a “cheaper and better” Medicare program than what you currently have, and all you need to do is provide some personal information such as your Medicare ID number.
Of course, the call is a scam, and sharing personal information merely opens you to identity theft.
In another version reported to BBB.org/ScamTracker, the caller is trying to frighten you by claiming your Medicare will be discontinued if you don’t re-enroll. Fortunately, you are told, this “Medicare advisor” can fix the situation, but you need to provide some personal information to get the process going.
How to avoid being scammed
—Be wary of unsolicited contact. People representing Medicare plans don’t contact you by phone, email or in person unless you are already enrolled. Be especially cautious of calls that require quick action or immediate payment.
—Decline promotional gifts in exchange for personal information. Keep a healthy level of skepticism any time a broker offers you free gifts or other special deals. Never sign up with a broker who offers you an expensive “sign-up gift” in exchange for providing your Medicare ID number or other personal information.
—Beware of “free health screenings.” Some brokers offer this to weed out people who are less healthy. This is against Medicare rules.
—Guard your government-issued numbers. Never offer your Medicare ID number, Social Security number, health plan info, or banking information to anyone you don’t know.
—Go to official websites. You can enroll or re-enroll in Medicare at Medicare.gov.
If you’ve been the victim of a scam, please report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. By sharing your experience, you can help others avoid falling victim to similar scams.
Courtesy of the Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia.