You're sitting at home when you get a call from a friendly employee from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) asking for your personal information. Before you give your Medicare number or personal details away over the phone, you realize -- this might be a scam!
In the digital age, seniors have become the prime target for financial scams. In fact, studies show that 2 in 10 older adults have been financially exploited by scammers in the last year. Every citizen over the age of 65 qualifies for Medicare, so it's an easy target for scammers looking to steal your identity. They don't have to do any background research on which private health insurance company their elderly targets use.
To avoid falling victim to identity theft or Medicare fraud, follow these tips:
Watch out for anyone asking for personal information. Medicare will never call, email or visit you to ask for your information, such as your Medicare number, Social Security number, bank account number or address.
If anyone trying to "help you" asks for your information, assume it's a scam. Scam artists may claim that Medicare is issuing new cards, processing payments or updating forms. Even if they can cite a few numbers from your checks, never assume the call is legitimate.
Be careful of Medicare fraud. If you're being billed for services or supplies you never received, you might be a victim of Medicare fraud. This could include someone using your card to bill for fake services, and then pocketing the money! If you're receiving suspicious Medicare bills, call the federal government's official hotline at 1-800-MEDICARE.
If you're doubtful about your service, contact Medicare directly. Visit their website or contact them toll-free at 1-800-MEDICARE with any questions or concerns-they're there to help you!
For more information on scams targeting seniors, check out the National Council on Aging's list of top 10 financial scams targeting seniors.