Medicare scams cost Seniors in the U.S. million dollars each year. Here are some tips to help you avoid Medicare and other scams from the National Council of Aging
But, it doesn’t have to happen to you if you are prepared!
Failure to review the three most common Medicare Scams below could result in you falling victim to one of them if you are not careful.
We will tell you how to avoid the Medicare Call Scam, the Computer Virus Call scam, and the ‘Yes’ scam.
Common Medicare Call Scams
- Medicare wanting to “verify your information/identity” – someone calls stating they are from Medicare and that they need to verify your identity to send you an updated Medicare card.
- Free Medical Supplies – someone calls pretending that they can get you “FREE” medical supplies since ‘Medicare will pay for it’. Caller will typically then ask for generic information and then end with needing your social security number and Medicare ID number. In addition, they might ask for a credit card number to cover the ‘small shipping costs’ for your FREE Medical Supplies.
- Medical charge refund – caller states that due to an upgrade in Medicare coverage you are now entitled to a refund for a previous service. One of the most common services they choose is lab work since just about everyone has some type of lab work done each year. They will typically ask for your bank account information and Medicare ID number to process the refund and do a direct deposit into your checking or savings account.
Keep in mind that Medicare generally will never call you, except in limited circumstances. The best thing you can do if you answer one of these calls is to hang up. Remember…you can always call 1-800-MEDICARE to verify this information and handle anything that is needed if it was in fact a call from Medicare (but in all likelihood it was not).
Computer Virus Call Scam
These scammers will call and pretend to be a computer technician from a well known virus protection software company. They will say something along the lines of “Our system received an alert that your computer has been compromised by a programming virus.” They will typically ask you to go to a website for them to do a remote access and run a diagnostic test to fix the issue. The test is fake, but will show that you have a serious problem. They will then try to get you to provide a credit card to cover the cost of them repairing the problem (even though there never was one to begin with).
Say ‘Yes’ Phone Scam
While this scam is a bit older, it is still used. This is where a scammer will ask a question in an attempt to get you to say ‘Yes’.
So how does the scam go? First the individual will call and use a software program to change the phone number that shows up on your Caller ID. They will typically pick a local area code so you will be more inclined to answer. Once you answer they will ask you a question that will generate a ‘Yes’ response from you. Of course the easiest question to ask is “Can you hear me?”
Once you answer Yes, I can hear you that is recorded. From here they can bill your phone carrier for authorized charges and provide you saying ‘Yes’ to authorize those charges.
How do you avoid this particular scam? One way is to keep saying “Who is this?” each time they ask if you can hear them. You are not giving them the ‘Yes’ answer they want and will likely hang up and move on to the next person.
If you think that you have been a victim of a Medicare scam call, call Medicare at 800 – MEDICARE. If you think that you have been a victim of the computer virus scam, immediately call your credit card company and dispute the charge (and get a new credit card issued). For the ‘Yes’ scam, be sure to review your phone bills for any additional charges that seem out of the ordinary. If you find any, contact your phone service immediately to dispute the charges.
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