Self Defense Tips for COVID-19 Scams & Healthcare Fraud
This one-page tip sheet provides a quick summary of what to watch for and how to protect yourself from COVID-19 scams and healthcare fraud.
Beware of COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scams
Scammers may attempt to contact you while posing as COVID-19 contact tracers. These scammers use phone calls, email and texts to ask for personal information, such as your Social Security number or financial information.
Actual contact tracers help local health departments track the spread of COVID-19, including tracking down people who may have come into contact with the coronavirus and without being aware of doing so. They ask for medical symptoms and anyone who you may have come into contact with. They will not ask for personal financial information or your Social Security number. This is a scam. See our fraud alert for more info. Available in English and Spanish.
Beware of Offers to Test for Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Don’t give your Medicare number to anyone over the phone or to door-to-door solicitors offering to test for the coronavirus/COVID-19. Learn about various scams and how to protect yourself. Available in 9 languages. Please share.
Beware of Medicare Scams
Beware of Opioid Drug Fraud & Abuse
The use of opioid drugs by older adults has grown significantly over the past decade and Medicare beneficiaries have among the highest and fastest-growing rates of diagnosed opioid misuse. Opioids killed more than 47,000 people, and 2.1 million Medicare beneficiaries have an opioid disorder. This fraud alert discusses what opioids are, what opioid fraud and abuse looks like and where to report it. Please share. Available in English.
Beware of Offers for “Free” Braces Covered by Medicare
Scammers are broadcasting TV commercials or contacting Medicare beneficiaries by phone to offer “free or low cost” knee, back and other orthotic braces. If you disclose your Medicare number, you can end up with boxes of unwanted and unneeded braces, a compromised Medicare number, and potential denied Medicare claims if you require such braces in the future. Medicare only pays for durable medical equipment based on medical necessity — meaning it’s an item you really need for your medical condition – and requires prescription from your doctor, not a doctor you’ve never met or a doctor on TV.
This fraud alert provides tips on how to protect yourself from this fraud, how to detect it and where to report it. Available in 9 languages.
Beware of Fraudulent Hospice Enrollments
Several hospice agencies are giving presentations and visiting seniors at their home, and enrolling them into hospice even though they do not have a terminal illness with 6 months or less to live. The hospice company misleads people into enrolling in hospice by offering beneficiaries housekeeping, home health, nurse visits and/or medications for “free”. The hospice company is claiming they are a different branch of hospice and that services are covered by Medicare through “Obama Care”. This is a scam and can have serious consequences on beneficiaries’ ability to access needed treatment, medications and even their providers. In some cases, this type of fraud has caused severe decline in health and even untimely death. Available in 9 languages.
Beware of Genetic Testing & Cancer Screening Scams
If you are approached by someone who offers “free” genetic testing or cancer screening, turn it down. This is a scam. This is not a free test and needs to be ordered by your primary physician if medically necessary. Read our fraud alert for more details. Available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean, Armenian, Farsi and Hindi.
Novella: Medicare Marketing Abuse Alert
This 1-page novella educates beneficiaries on what Medicare health plans and their agents cannot do in their plan marketing and provides savvy tips on how to protect oneself from enrollment fraud. Available in English and Spanish.
Beware of New Medicare Card Phone Scams
2018 – Beware of callers saying you must first buy a temporary card for $5-50 before your new Medicare card arrives. This is not true. It is a scam. In California, the new Medicare cards will arrive between April and June 2018. They are free, and Medicare will not call you about your new card. Cards will be mailed to your mailing addresses on file with Social Security. If you need to update your mailing address, you can go to https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/. This fraud alert warns of these scams and gives tips on how to protect yourself and where to report such scams. Please share. Available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian and Farsi.
Beware of Postcards Advertising “Free” Braces to Relieve Pain
2018 – Be alert to urgently marked postcards notifying beneficiaries of pending eligibility for free Medicare-covered back and/or knee braces. This is a scam. Medicare only covers such equipment if it is medically necessary and prescribed by a doctor. These scammers just want to get your Medicare number to bill for services/equipment you never receive, or equipment much more expensive than what you receive. Please share. Available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian and Farsi.
Are You Being Offered “Hospice Housekeeping” Services? Hospice Fraud Alert!
2018 – Watch out for a hospice company that enrolls beneficiaries into hospice even though they do not have a terminal illness. This company misleads people into enrolling in hospice by offering beneficiaries housekeeping, home health, nurse visits and/or medications for “free”. This is a red flag and is a scam. Please share. Available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian and Farsi.
Beware of Lead Generating Businesses ~ Protect Your Identity
July 28, 2017 – Beware of lead generating businesses and their misleading mailings, many of which are easily mistaken to be from a government entity. Their postcards promise to give more information on government programs and benefits to those who fill out and send in their name and date of birth. Yet, these businesses are not affiliated with any government agency. They collect these postcards with people’s personal information and sell it to other companies marketing all kinds of products and senior services. This fraud alert warns of these mailings, and gives tips on how to protect yourself and where to report them. Please share. Available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Farsi and Tagalog.
New Medicare Cards Coming in 2018 ~ Beware of Scams
MARCH 10, 2017 – Due to Congress’ passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is required to remove Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards. CMS will start mailing out new cards in April 2018 with a new 11-digit Medicare number not linked to your Social Security. This change is to help prevent fraud and protect your identity. But scammers are using this situation as an opportunity for fraud. Learn of the common scams and where to report such scams. Please share. Fraud alert is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Farsi and Tagalog.
Also see our 1-page fact sheet and trifold brochure on the new Medicare cards:
Beware of Agents Pressuring You to Switch Plans
AUGUST 28, 2015 – This alert warns people of aggressive behavior from some insurance agents who are pressuring people to switch plans for the sole purpose of making a commission.
Beware of Genetic Testing for Beneficiaries in Group Settings
FEBRUARY 17, 2015 – This alert warns of genetic testing scams where beneficiaries are offered a presentation or an ice cream social along with a “free cheek swab” test to help their doctors prevent adverse medication affects.
“Free Services” Scams Compromise Beneficiary Medicare Numbers
JULY 28, 2014 This alert warns “free services” scams where fraudulent providers or suppliers offer beneficiaries “free” services in exchange for their Medicare numbers. Fraudsters then use their number to bill Medicare for services not rendered, or sell their number to other scammers.
New Phone Scam Demands Payment or Threatens Arrest
MAY 21, 2014 – This alert warns of a phone scam that threatens Medicare beneficiaries with being arrested unless they immediately pay a large sum of money. The caller usually says he is with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Protect Yourself from Obamacare Scams
SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 – The roll out of the new health care program known as “Obamacare” begins October 1st, with enrollment from October 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014. This alert warns of the growing number of scams that take advantage of people’s confusion surrounding the new health care program, and provides simple tips on how to avoid them.
Medical Alert Emergency System Scam
JUNE 6, 2013 – This alert warns of callers claiming to represent a company called Medical Alert and offering to give free equipment. The caller then asks for your checking account information to pay for shipping fees. See full alert (PDF) in English, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Koreanand Russian.