Medicare scam calls are among the most prevalent ways that crooks pretending to be from Medicare or known insurance companies use to steal sensitive healthcare information from unsuspecting people.
This information is then used to commit identity theft by submitting fictitious claims to obtain medical supplies, healthcare services, or even prescription drugs.
Medicare scams can occur through various methods and target individuals who are enrolled in Medicare, often exploiting their personal information, trust, or lack of awareness.
Fraudsters may call, text, or email beneficiaries, posing as Medicare representatives, and request personal information like Social Security or Medicare ID numbers.
1) Issuing Of New Medicare Cards
You might get a call saying your Medicare card is outdated and a new one is on the way. Scammers can pretend to help you, but really, they’re after your personal information, like your Social Security Number (SSN) or Medicare card number.
Imagine your phone rings, and it’s someone saying your Medicare card is no good anymore. Stop right there. Medicare won’t randomly call you like that.
If something’s up with your card, or if Medicare needs to talk to you, they’ll send an official letter through the Social Security Administration (SSA). They won’t spring a surprise call on you.
Let’s say you’re on the line, and the caller insists they don’t want your Social Security card or bank account numbers. Hold up—they might sound friendly, but they’re fishing for valuable details.
Always stay on guard. Remain sharp to keep your information safe and report the call if you deem is suspicious.
2) Claims Of Card Cancellation
Scammers might try to spook you with a fake call about your Medicare. They could say your Medicare eligibility is in danger unless you play along and “verify” who you are.
Your phone rings, and the caller warns that your Medicare is about to be axed. They’ll sweet-talk you into sharing sensitive details such as your Medicare number, address, full name, bank info, date of birth, and Social Security number.
If someone insists you need a new Medicare number but doesn’t know your current one, chances are high that it is a scam. Medicare doesn’t play that game. They have your number on file; there’s no reason for them to ring you up for it.
3) Free Genetic Testing
Another stunt scammers might try to pull is tempting you with a call about free genetic testing through Medicare. They could claim it’s for cancer and other health checks.
Imagine your phone rings, and it’s someone you didn’t reach out to, offering you free genetic testing. They might say it’s all free, but it’s a smokescreen to get your info and bill Medicare without you even knowing.
You get a surprise package in the mail—a “free” at-home genetic test. Be wary! Along with the test, there’s a sly request for your Medicare number or personal details. Don’t take the bait. Medicare won’t just send you tests without a heads-up.
4) Free Medical Supplies
Scammers might come knocking with a tempting offer if they know about your health condition, like diabetes. They might ring you up, claiming you’re eligible for “free” medical supplies or even prescription drugs.
They’ll go to great lengths to dig up your health details from the Dark Web after a data breach. Armed with your info, they’ll give you a call, offering all sorts of “freebies” for your diabetes care—testing strips, lancets, lancing devices, you name it.
Medicare doesn’t ask for your info in exchange for free supplies. Never pay a dime without a proper invoice that you can double-check with Medicare or your health insurance. If it smells fishy, hang up and report it.
5) Refund For Overpayment Of Benefits
Another trick is a call that you’re owed a refund for overpaid benefits. They’ll call or text, claiming that Medicare owes you a bundle—hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Sounds good, right? But pump the brakes if they start asking for your bank account number and personal info.
Even if they turn up the heat, telling you to spill the beans now or you’ll lose out on the money, never fall for that trick. Medicare will never ask for your sensitive details for a refund.
How Do Medicare Scam Calls Work?
Medicare scam calls typically involve fraudulent attempts to obtain personal information or money from Medicare beneficiaries. Scammers often use various tactics to deceive individuals into providing sensitive details or making payments under false pretenses.
Here’s how these scams typically work:
- Impersonation – Scammers may pose as Medicare representatives, claiming to be from Medicare or associated organizations. They use spoofed phone numbers to make it appear that the call is coming from a legitimate source.
- False Claims – They might inform the recipient that they need to update their Medicare information, provide a new card, or offer additional benefits or services. Sometimes, they use scare tactics, suggesting that failure to comply could lead to losing benefits or facing penalties.
- Request for personal information – To proceed with the supposed update or enrollment, scammers ask for personal details such as Social Security numbers, Medicare ID numbers, birth dates, and other sensitive information.
- Demand for payment – In some instances, scammers claim that certain services or benefits require payment. They might ask for bank account information or request payment through wire transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrency.
- Threats or pressure – Scammers may use aggressive tactics or threats of legal action to pressure individuals into complying with their demands quickly.
How to Avoid Medicare Scammers
Understand Medicare Communication Methods
One of the first steps in safeguarding yourself against scams is to know how Medicare communicates with its beneficiaries.
Medicare primarily communicates through official channels like mailed letters. They rarely initiate contact by phone, and when they do, it’s usually after you’ve given them permission.
Be wary of unexpected calls claiming to be from Medicare, especially if they ask for personal information. If in doubt, hang up and contact Medicare directly using the official phone number on your Medicare card.
Scammers often pose as Medicare representatives and request sensitive personal information such as your Social Security number, Medicare ID, or bank details.
Remember, Medicare will never call you to ask for this information unsolicited. If someone on the phone requests such details, it’s a red flag. Politely decline and hang up immediately.
Genuine Medicare communications will respect your privacy and never pressure you to share personal information over the phone.
Verify Caller Identity
Before divulging any information, verify the identity of the caller. Ask for their name, department, and a call-back number. Legitimate organizations will not hesitate to provide this information.
Take the time to research the provided details independently. You can find official contact information for Medicare on their official website or through other trusted sources. If the caller becomes pushy or avoids your questions, it’s likely a scam, and you should end the call
Use Caller ID Wisely
Many scam calls use tactics like “spoofing” to make it appear as if they are calling from a legitimate source, such as Medicare. While it’s challenging to rely solely on caller ID, it can still be a helpful tool.
If you receive a call from an unknown number, especially one that seems suspicious, let it go to voicemail. Legitimate callers will often leave a message, allowing you to verify the authenticity of the call before responding.
Report Suspicious Calls
If you do encounter a suspicious call, it’s crucial to report it. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through their website or by calling 1-888-382-1222.
Additionally, inform Medicare of the scam by contacting their official customer service. Reporting scams not only helps protect yourself but also assists authorities in taking action against fraudsters, preventing them from targeting others.
Does Medicare Make Phone Calls?
Medicare primarily communicates through mail rather than making unsolicited phone calls. Genuine Medicare communication often occurs via official letters from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or through scheduled appointments.
It’s essential to note that Medicare won’t typically call beneficiaries out of the blue to request personal information like Social Security numbers, Medicare ID numbers, or banking details.
If there’s a legitimate need for contact, such as updating information or discussing benefits, Medicare will usually send an official letter to schedule a phone interview or an in-person meeting.
Medicare representatives will identify themselves and provide contact details for beneficiaries to reach them back.
Here are instances when Medicare might call you:
- Scheduled follow-ups – Medicare may call if you’ve initiated contact or have an ongoing issue being addressed by Medicare customer service. These calls are typically in response to inquiries or issues you’ve previously raised.
- Enrollment verification – If you’ve recently enrolled in a Medicare plan or made changes to your coverage, a representative may call to verify information or clarify details related to your enrollment.
- Health surveys or research – Sometimes, Medicare conducts health surveys or research studies and might reach out via phone to gather information for these purposes. However, participation in such studies is usually voluntary.
- Appointment reminders – In certain cases, Medicare or healthcare providers associated with Medicare might call to remind you of upcoming appointments or healthcare-related matters.
It’s crucial to note that while Medicare might make these calls, they will never ask for personal information such as your Social Security number, Medicare ID, or banking details over the phone.
Medicare also won’t threaten legal action or demand immediate payment during these calls.