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NDT - Tips from AARP on avoiding Medicare Scams - October 12

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 5:02 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The open enrollment period for changing Medicare Part D prescription plans begins October 15 and will end December 7. While Medicare-related fraud is a year-round concern, Medicare recipients should be especially alert for fraudsters during open enrollment. Guard your medicare number, your social security number, and other personal information, and don’t fall for high-pressure sales pitches. AARP’s Doreen Riedman has tips to avoid scammers.

Here are common scams during open enrollment:

• Someone calls claiming to be from Medicare and says your Medicare number and credit card information are needed to sign you up for health coverage. Hang up the phone. Medicare does not call beneficiaries to sign them up.

• Someone calls saying you have to sign up for a Part D prescription drug plan or you’ll lose your Medicare coverage. Again, hang up the phone. Enrolling in a prescription drug plan is optional and has nothing to do with the rest of your Medicare coverage.

• Someone calls claiming to be a Medicare representative and says your billing information must be confirmed to keep your coverage active. Again, hang up. Medicare employees will not cold-call you and are not allowed to ask for payment information on the phone or online.

• Someone calls asking for your Medicare number to update your account and to send you the latest open enrollment information. Do not give out your Medicare number or any other personal information over the phone.

• A scammer calls a Medicare beneficiary to notify them that they are owed a refund. Of course, the catch is that you must provide your birth date, Social Security number, bank account and Medicare numbers so the refund can be automatically deposited into your checking account. Medicare will never call and ask for this information.

Advice to avoid scams:

• Never give your Medicare number or other personal information to an unexpected caller or someone who makes an unsolicited request for it.

• Be suspicious of anyone who calls and claims to be able to help you sign up for coverage but needs to confirm your Medicare number, or asks for your Medicare number just to provide you enrollment information.

• If a caller says they’re from Medicare and asks for your Medicare number or other personal information, hang up. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services will never call to ask for or check Medicare numbers.

• Social Security employees also will not call you asking for your Medicare number, your Social Security number, your bank account number or other personal information.

• Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers use technology to hide their real numbers and instead show numbers that seem legitimate.

• Don’t respond to a telemarketing call relating to Medicare. Hang up on robocalls..

• Be wary of offers of prizes or money to join a Medicare plan.

• Anyone who tries to sell you Medicare insurance while claiming to be an “official Medicare agent” is a scammer. There are no Medicare sales representatives.

• Ignore anyone who calls saying you must join their prescription plan or you will lose your Medicare coverage. The Medicare prescription drug plan (also known as Part D) is completely voluntary.

• Be alert for mailers that appear to be government communications but are actually advertisements for private companies. Be wary of deceptive promotional materials.

To find more information or to talk to someone if you think you may have been scammed, go to www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360.

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