While many older Americans are embracing technology, far too many are simply unfamiliar with how it works or the dangers it can carry. Even those who are active on social medial have been victim to scams, and there are a lot of criminals out there who are looking to get their hands on your information, which they can use to steal your identity or defraud Medicare.
Older Americans are more prone to lose more money than are younger consumers who become victims or targets of fraud. It’s important to understand the red flags for these scams so you can protect yourself, because it can be really hard to get your money back once it’s stolen. Beware of Medicare fraud and scams by getting familiar with the kinds of scams out there and the tactics they’ll use to steal your information.
Medicare Fraud and Medicare Scams
Fraudsters are all too often an undesired complication of going through Medicare open enrollment for seniors across the nation. Those looking to perpetrate Medicare scams are nothing if not opportunistic, looking to take advantage of anything they can to perpetrate Medicare fraud on older people.
The Open Enrollment period through December 7 is the prime window for fraud and scam targeting older Americans. They may take a number of tactics including impersonating government officials to take advantage of your confusion.
By the Numbers
According to the Better Business Bureau, about 12% of seniors are the victims of scams, with a median loss in 2016 of $390, as compared to a median loss of $200 for those aged 18 to 24. Interestingly, younger people are 3 times as likely to become a victim, especially as seniors become more savvy about how technology works.
The Phishing Scam
The most common scam which ramps up every fall is when someone calls your home and claims that they are with Medicare and needs to confirm your information. They ask for your Social Security Number to do so. This is a clear attempt to steal your information, as your SSN can be used to create any number of false accounts in your name.
Scarier scams see the fraudsters threatening you with fines, jail time, or accusing you of crimes. Others tell you that they have diabetes drugs, back braces or other supplies to send, but they need your Medicare number to do so. Still other times they might offer you a “refund” from your insurance and all they need is your bank account number and SSN for deposit. If you can spot the red flags in these scams, you’re in better shape than many.
Firstly, the Federal government will never call you and ask you for personal information unsolicited. Secondly, they will never, ever make a threatening phone call that tells you you’re in trouble, facing jail time, or looking at fines. All of these are red flags for scams, and you should simply hang up.
If you are the victim of a Medicare fraud or Medicare scam, it can be difficult to get your money back. Your best bet is to talk with your elder law attorney. If you’re in Cuyahoga County, OH, and you need peace of mind, call the Stano Law Firm for a consultation today.