Medicare & Social Security Scam
Beware of New Medicare and Social Security Scams
Senior citizens across the country are falling victim to a new scam: fraudulent operators who pretend to be calling about Medicare, Social Security, or supplemental insurance, but whose intent is to trick individuals into disclosing their private financial information. Disclosure of such information can lead to identity theft or unauthorized withdrawals from your personal bank account. The Better Business Bureau is now seeing a new twist on this classic con: calls from “Medicare” claiming to have your new back or knee brace. The scammer will either offer you a back or knee brace through Medicare OR claim that a caregiver previously called about receiving a back brace from Medicare. The reason these scammers are hawking these braces specifically is due to the fact that Medicare will traditionally pay for them, as reimbursement amounts for these durable medical equipment items have not been reduced by Medicare.
How the Scams Work
Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries across the country report receiving calls from scam operators who claim to represent Medicare, Social Security, or an insurance company. These callers claim that new Medicare, Social Security, or supplemental insurance benefits cards are being issued or that the beneficiary’s file needs to be updated. The scammers ask the individual to verify or provide their personal banking information, which is then used to commit theft. The caller may be extremely aggressive, calling several times regardless the time of the day, in an attempt to wear down the potential victim. These criminals will say anything to try to gain a person’s trust. In some cases, they may have already obtained some limited personal information about the individual, such as their name, address, or even Social Security number, which the scammer then uses to try to legitimize the call. In other cases, the scammers may claim that they can improve the benefits. DO NOT believe these claims, and DO NOT carry on a conversation with the scammer. Instead, if you receive a call asking you to disclose your bank account or other financial information, HANG UP IMMEDIATELY. These people are criminals, and by speaking with the scammers, even to ask them to stop calling, they may be encouraged to continue calling your telephone number. They offer no company name and may even hang up on you if you ask for further company information.
If you are a Medicare or Social Security beneficiary, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration WILL NOT call you to ask you to disclose financial information for issuing a new card. If you receive such a call, you should report it to ALL the following agencies:
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
7500 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21244
Social Security Administration
Office of Public Inquiries
1100 West High Rise
6401 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21235
U.S Department of Health & Human Services – Office of the Inspector General
ATTN: OIG HOTLINE OPERATIONS
P.O. Box 23489
Washington, DC 20026
- Remember: The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration will not call you to update your information or give you a new card.
- Remember: We at Orthopedic + Fracture Specialists follow HIPAA guidelines and do not release patient information to third parties, including Durable Medical Equipment suppliers, without the expressed written consent from you, the patient.
- If an unknown caller asks for your personal information, do not provide it.
- Check bbb.org/healthcarescam for the latest information on scams
- If calls persist, you may wish to speak to your phone company about calling features that would enable you to be selective in the calls that you accept or receive.
Already Disclosed Information to an Unknown Party?
If you have already disclosed personal financial information to an unknown party, you may be at risk of identity theft. There are certain steps that you can take to further protect yourself including:
1. Place a one-call fraud alert on your credit report with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion (contact info below).
- With a fraud alert, a business must verify your identity before extending a new credit account.
- Fraud alerts are free and last for 90 days after being reported, which can then be renewed. If your identity has been stolen, you can opt for an “extended fraud alert” which lasts seven years.
- Fraud alerts need to only be reported to one of the three agencies who are required by law to notify the other two.
2. Consider placing a security freeze (credit freeze) on your credit reports with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion (contact info below).
- With a credit freeze, no one (including you) can access your credit report to open a new account. As the one putting the freeze, you will receive a PIN number to use each time you want to freeze, unfreeze, or refreeze your account. Make sure you secure your PIN.
- Credit freezes typically come with a fee for each agency and generally last until you temporarily or permanently lift the freeze. In a few states, it expires after seven years.
- To put a freeze, you need to contact each of the three agencies separately and provide all the information requested. You will then receive confirmations from each agency along with your PIN.
Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta GA 30348
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen TX 75013
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 2000
Chester PA 19022-2000
3. Order a free copy of your credit report and look for unauthorized activity.
- Many consumers first find out that they are victims of identity theft by discovering inaccuracies on their credit report. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows consumers to obtain a free copy of their credit report each year from the three major credit bureaus:
Annual Credit Report
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105283
Atlanta, GA 30348-5283
4. Register for the National Do Not Call List
- You can significantly reduce the number of telemarking calls you receive by registering for the National Do Not Call List. Registration is free and works for landlines and cellphone numbers.
National Do Not Call List
5. Report a violation of the Do Not Call List
- If you receive telemarketing calls even though you are registered with the Do not Call List, please report a violation using the link provided above.
- Note: There are certain exception to the Do Not Call List. Certain telemarketing calls are still allowed under Oregon law even if you are on the Do Not Call list:
a. Public agencies
b. Political campaigns asking for your opinion or vote
c. Charitable organizations to which you belong, having previously donated or expressed an interest in supporting
d. Companies returning your call or request to call
e. Companies you have established a relationship with by purchasing products, services, or conducting business with
f. Business-to-business calls