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Be aware of Medicare scams

Have you received a phone call or text message promising free medical services, equipment, or a gift card, and all you have to do is confirm personal information? Do they say you qualify because you are a Medicare member? Very likely, you are the target of a Medicare scam.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is leading the charge in getting the word out about a specific scheme involving unnecessary billing for items such as urinary catheters. These items may or may not be sent to the enrollee, but the scammers will bill Medicare for items you did not order.

Ways to avoid Medicare scams

Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and taking advantage of more people daily. Here are some tips for seniors to avoid scams that could drain your bank account and disrupt your life.

  • Protect your personal information. This includes medical information.
  • Don’t rush. Take your time and research when dealing with a stranger or unknown company.
  • Ask for references to avoid home repair and contractor fraud.
  • Look for warning signs of senior scams, such as unsolicited requests for personal information, high-pressure sales tactics, and unusual payment methods.
  • Protect your Medicare number just as you do your credit card numbers. Do not allow anyone other than trusted health providers to use it.
  • Review your Medicare Summary Notices to be sure you have received the services billed.
  • Don’t buy services or items from telemarketers.
  • Always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity request.

Other scams

It’s not just our Medicare members who are targets of scams. Scammers using “spoofing” technology can make phone calls look like they are coming from a legitimate business. You can learn more about these scams, and how to avoid them here.

Report scams to protect others

You can report your concerns to the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Fraud Hotline at 800-372-8321 any time, day or night. All tips are kept strictly confidential. You may also file a complaint online and anonymously at

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