The General Approach

There are a growing number of Medicare fraud schemes that deceive Medicare beneficiaries by posing as Medicare representatives and soliciting personal and medical details. The common approach is the scammers call or text you directly without you having called them. Sometimes they will also include a link in a text that you should never open. Medicare will never call or text you – they will send a written letter through the Social Security Administration.

Using data that has been obtained from other data breaches, scammers might have your mailing address, date of birth or other identifying data that makes them sound very real and trustworthy.  They are not.

Protect yourself from Medicare ScamsMethods

  1. New Medicare card: In the call or text they falsely assert there is a problem with your account. One scheme is telling you need a new Medicare card. An example is, “We are calling to be sure you received your new Medicare Card.” When you say “No, I didn’t” (because no new cards are being issued), they will ask you to give them your mailing, email and identifiers so they can process your card. Medicare and the Social Security Administration have all the information they need already. If you get a call or message like this, hang up and ignore it.
  2. Additional low cost coverage, services or medical equipment: In the call or text, they offer discounted additional coverage, special services just for you, or inexpensive equipment but say they need your Medicare number. They will sell the obtained information for identity and medical theft. Or, they will fraudulently bill Medicare for the low quality services and equipment they did or didn’t provide.
  3. Free genetic testing: A scam caller might offer “free” genetic testing to help you find out if you are at risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes or dementia. They will tell you the test kit can be sent if you simply provide your personal identification including Medicare numbers. The test never comes but the scammers will fraudulently bill Medicare for testing. Or, in a small variation, you might receive a “free” at-home test. To process the test, they will require your Medicare number or personal information. If you did not ask for or order the test, do not give out your information. Throw it away.
  4. Your plan is going to expire, your benefits will be reduced, you are going to get a special refund: This is using emotional language to either scare you or excite you into providing your identification information. Callers or texters can sound very serious and convincing. Be on guard. Do not be threatened. Medicare will not use the phone or text to alert you to any changes in your plan or benefits. Hang up or delete the text and never open a link attached to the text.
  5. Free Covid tests or special access to vaccines: Covid scams are still alive. Similar to the scams offering free genetic testing or special discount medical equipment, these callers reach you directly to offer free Covid tests or vaccine appointments if you give them your Medicare number or Social Security Number. They will bill Medicare and sell your identification. You can order four free Covid tests from covid.gov/tests.

For additional information about detecting and protecting yourself from Medicare scams

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