You may avoid the doctor for an annoying medical issue. Scammers know this. Thieves can use this to target you by calling you up and offering to help you out. Jennifer Salazar, the Executive Director of the Better Business Bureau Education Foundation, joined us for an episode of Ask Amy to warn us about the newest scams targeting our senior citizens.
How would-be scammers use your health issues to trick you
Salazar explains how would-be scammers might call, acting as if they care about your health.
“You get a phone call, and you are on Medicare and they are like, ‘Are you in pain? Oh, I’m so sorry to hear you are in pain. What hurts your knee? We can send you a knee brace at no cost you to.’ You get the knee brace or not get the knee brace,” she explains.
In the process, you’ve given out your Medicare number to these thieves. Then they produce a fake claim and send that claim to Medicare. For example, Salazar shows a simple $11 knee brace that someone charged $600 for on a fake Medicare claim.
Safeguard your Medicare number
Believe it or not, often thieves are just trying to get your Medicare number. Salazar says one Medicare number is worth $30,000 to a scammer.
Besides claims for devices fraudsters often use the number to make fake doctor visit claims. One way to track potential fraud is to keep a healthcare tracker - and write all the details for your doctor’s appointments. Then when you get your medicare summary notice or your explanation of benefits compare the two.
How your mail may be a clue of identity theft
You may want to start keeping better track of your mail.
“It could be a clue that you’ve been the victim of identity theft. If you are getting things in the mail like job applications, if you are getting subscriptions you did not get. Somebody might have your information or may be using your information,” said Salazar.
If you do get random mail, call the companies to ask why you are getting it. You should close those accounts. Missing mail could also be a red flag. A thief can file a change of address form to get bank or credit card statements sent to them. You can also check your credit report for any open accounts you don’t recognize.
The minute you think you are the victim of identity theft or that have given your info to the wrong person, call the BBB and they will help you file claims with the correct agencies. The number is 888-341-6187.