Open season for identity thieves

Share this page

It’s open season for everyone who wants to switch health coverage. As you select your health insurance plan, watch out for scams. Whether you are on Medicare, selecting a plan through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or have private insurance, here are some tips to help you more safely navigate the open enrollment season. 

Medicare

A variety of scams take advantage of Medicare recipients. Here are a few: 

  • An “official Medicare agent” knocks on your door selling Medicare insurance that can save you money. Stop. It’s a scam. There are no Medicare sales representatives. It’s probably someone who wants to use your information to commit fraud or identity theft.
  • Someone calls and says you must join their prescription plan or else you’ll lose your Medicare coverage. Don’t believe it. The Medicare prescription drug plan (also known as Part D) is voluntary.  
  • Someone calls claiming that you need to give your Medicare number in order for you to keep your Medicare coverage under ACA. It’s a scam. Don’t give your personal information over the phone. If you need help with Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE or go to medicare.gov.

Affordable Care Act

If you are shopping in the Health Insurance Marketplace, only shop at HealthCare.gov. People who try to sign you up elsewhere may be scammers. If you’re overwhelmed, you can find free official helpers at HealthCare.gov. Official helpers will never ask for money or try to sell you a particular plan. 

Another important tip: the government will not call to sell you health insurance. And no one from the government will ask you to verify your Social Security number or bank information over the phone.

Private insurance

If you’re looking for health insurance, make sure that’s what you’re buying. Be on the lookout for medical discount plans. They’re not the same as health insurance, even though they sometimes pretend to be. Many of these plans are scams that don’t deliver on the services promised. Others are just a way for identity thieves to get your personal information. Your state insurance commissioner’s office can tell you if a plan isn’t insurance and whether the seller is licensed in your state.

Report health care scams

If you think you may be a victim of a health care scam, report it to the FTC. If the scam is Medicare-related, report it at medicare.gov.

If you gave out personal information, then call your banks, credit card providers, health insurance company, and credit reporting agencies immediately. The FTC’s website has more information on health care scams and medical identity theft.

Comments

Hi I just want to thank you fore this opportunity.

Fantastic information - thanks! I will pass this on to the office at the senior's building where my mother lives. They frequently get calls from people trying to get their information.

Please add a choice for a "printable" version of your updates.

Thanks!

since i've been scammed twice by the microsoft scammers, i read all your bulletins and appreciate the alerts.

good tips, but let me add one more: hospitals can claim all kinds of services were needed and given! check those bills closely. I was treated 8 months in a locked facility to keep me from collecting on an outstate lottery win!! being "jammed" and can't do captcha

If I were in your situation and could not get out of there in time to validate your winning ticket, then I am sure most news departments including CNN would be quite happy to make a scene out of that. It also would probably spark the interest of a good lawyer who would be happy to try to prove that case on a cash if you win basis.Don't give up, good luck.

Senior Citizens , especially are being scammed every day !
The only meaningful and worthwhile program out-there to truly aid and assist is the F.T.C. - keep up the good work!

Thank you for the helpful information. "Knowing is half the battle."

thanks for helping some us who get confused and I am not that old

I am hoping the new job I am taking is not a scam.
They keep asking for more and more personal, financial, and credentialing information. I am nervous.

I recently worked for an insurance agency named Ensurity Group LLC doing sales telemarketing its ran by a man named Moe Flores and his girlfriend named Maria Martinez and would call people you know senior citizens and I had to convince them to set an appointment with these "so called representatives by letting them go to there home and they would sell them a supplement you know part c. I just thought this was needed to be known just incase your the next one on there calling list and also because i didn't know that was FRAUD.

Hi I just realized I am being scammed thru an eBay scam where the car deal is with green dot money packs they want you to use the money packs to send the money for the vehicle and claim it's legit I really wanna nail these guys how can I report this

You can file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

The Fifth Third bank is extremely lax about protecting my confidential info:

Recently i got a routing Fifth Third regular-mail letter that includes all the answers to my security questions. No purpose was served by including this info in the letter.

What if the letter got lost in the mail? What if someone else opened it?

THIS IS INTOLERABLE!!!

"no one from the government will request your SS# over the phone" - this is not true. In NJ my unemployment insurance has been cancelled and I have been asked to give my SS# numerous times to collect benefits. This continues still

What about a company posing as one which can augment the cost of your expensive medications. Upon release from the hospital, I was diagnosed with Vertigo. I was given a prescription for Eliquis: 2 tablets daily; prescribed by a well known successful cardiologist in the area, but not my physician. He was recommended by my regular family doctor's stand-in physician @ the hospital I was treated in. I'd heard of him from his reputation, but had never seen him or been treated by him ever. I trusted the source and purchased the first few doses of Eliquis, a blood thinner, out of pocket, only to discover it was over $400 for 60 pills. I live on a meager income @ 82yrs of age, and knew I couldn't afford to pay that kind of price. So, I went on line and did a search for someone who could offer a PAP(Patient Assistance Program). I got a phone call from a fellow, who repesented a company called: Advocate My Meds, POBox 3268, Boynton Beach, Fl 33436. He said they had an affiliation with Bristol Myers, the maker of Eliquis. But, they required all kinds of medical info including: Soc. Sec. #, list of meds. I was required to take, etc. and had to have them Faxed or sent to their facility. Once they had everything they needed I would either be accepted or denied membership. They would charge my credit card $60 for their services, and $39.95 for each subscription needed. Once accepted, they would mail me the subscription to my home from their Bristol Myers connection. I, first discussed over the phone, all of the requirements, after a 5 day stay in the hospital, following my first extreme Vertigo attack, which occurred on Thanksgiving everning. They hounded me with various different people calling me or emailing me for the required documents. All in all, this process lasted throughout all of December and into Jan. Once I thought I had everything they required, faxing and emaiing, etc. I never heard from them again. I sent them emails. called their 800 number, with no viable response. I noticed on my credit card statement their posting of the $60 charge, and 2 $39.95 chgs, for a two month supply, but none ever came. I threatened them with exactly what I'm doing now, reporting them for being a possible scam.I was never told that I'd been accepted or denied, but the charges indicate that they made some financial moves. I spoke with my credit card company to report that I'd never received any medication, despite their charging for same on the card. I was advised to call them yesterday and find out what I could, but the call was denied with the excuse of not within their working hours for Friday 9am-3pm. It was about 2:50pm then. I'm going to give them another call Monday, and see what their answers are. With April beginning tomorrow, that makes nearly 5 months of stalling. If you've ever heard of any scams from Advocate My Meds. I'd be happy to hear about them.

Leave a Comment