Tips for Senior Citizens to Protect
Against Health Care Scams
Scammers are trying to con seniors
into giving out sensitive information while signing them up for plans
they do not need
Nov. 21, 2013 - Fraudsters are
capitalizing on the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and
Medicare’s Open Enrollment. The shifts in the healthcare landscape have
prompted some criminals to carry out health care scams targeting
seniors, according to the Senate Special Committee on Aging.
The fact is that if you have
Medicare, you do not need to buy health insurance through the exchanges
created by the ACA. And, although it is illegal for someone to sell an
exchange health insurance plan to a known Medicare recipient, it hasn’t
deterred fraudsters from trying.
In many instances, these nefarious
operators are trying to con seniors into giving out sensitive
information such as a bank account, Social Security, or Medicare number
while signing them up for plans they do not need. This was the case for
68 year-old Madeleine Mirzayans of California, who recently shared her
story with the
New York Times, as well as 69
year-old James Dick of Ohio, who shared his story with
The Senate Special Committee on
Aging reports it has heard too many stories from seniors who have had
their identity stolen or been swindled out of their hard-earned life
savings, and we are committed to working together to protect our
seniors. Below are a few steps seniors can take to avoid falling victim
to these fraudsters and identity thieves:
• Protect your personal
information and be suspicious of solicitations.
Never share personal information, such as Medicare, Social Security or
bank account information with anyone who contacts you uninvited at your
door, over the phone or by e-mail seeking to verify personal information
or sell you a health plan.
• Know that Medicare will
never call you at home. If you receive a
call from someone who says they’re from Medicare or Social Security,
hang up. Medicare and Social Security employees will never call you at
home, unless you have contacted them first about a problem.
• Use official websites only.
Seniors using the fall Medicare open-enrollment period to shop for
prescription drug or Medicare Advantage plans should sign up only
through the official Medicare Plan Finder website
www.medicare.gov or by phone at
• Report suspected fraud.
Report any suspected fraud to the local police or your state’s attorney
general. To report identity theft related crimes contact the Federal
Trade Commission at
www.ftc.gov/idtheft or by calling
The Senate Special Committee on Aging is also
available to help if you have any questions about reporting fraud or
need assistance. The committee’s anti-fraud hotline is staffed by a
team of investigators weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. You can call
the toll-free fraud hotline at 1-855-303-9470, or contact us by clicking
• Ask questions.
If it has anything to do with Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE or check out
online resources at
www.medicare.gov. To learn more
about Medicare fraud and taking steps to prevent it you can visit
contact the Senior Medicare Patrol program in your area by visiting
Scam Hotline - If you or a
loved one have been the victim of fraud, please contact us at
1-855-303-9470 or Click Here