New Fraud Alert for Your Aging Parents

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Carolyn and Mikol here.

senior woman and prescription medicationWe just got in an alert from the The National Legal Resource Center (NLRC) and we wanted to share it with you.
Can you believe this?   Professional criminals are now targeting people with diabetes to scam them for personal information.

Here’s how it works.  Someone pretending to be from the government, a diabetes association, or from Medicare calls the diabetic person, offering “free” diabetic supplies.  As you know if you have a diabetic among your family or friends, the disease involves a lot of supplies.  They include test strips, glucose meters, lancets to prick the skin to do blood sugar testing and other commonly used items.

The NLRC notice describes that the caller may also offer other items, such as heating pads or foot orthotics, in exchange for the person’s Medicare or financial information.  Because the cost of these often needed supplies is burdensome for many, the temptation to get them for “free” may induce the diabetic to hand out the private information the caller wants to grab.

The diabetic may start getting things in the mail he or she never ordered.  All the supplies are charged to Medicare using the duped person’s Medicare number.  Because the person is actually a diabetic and uses supplies, the fraud may be hard to detect.  It is not as if a million dollars of fake billing has taken place.  However, the fraudster now has the individual’s private information, sometimes financial information.  The individual is susceptible to many other kinds of fraud and theft.

The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, advises you about what to do if you or your aging parent gets one of these suspicious scammer calls.

Do not provide your Medicare number or other personal information to anyone over the phone when they call with an “offer”.  Medicare and other legitimate agencies for diabetics do not call to solicit sales of supplies.  Warn your aging parent not to hand this private information out.

Report the call.  The Office of the Inspector General has a hotline at 1-800-HHS-TIPS.  Scam calls can also be reported online at www.OIG.HHS.gov/fraud/hotline.  They advise in their fraud alert notice that you need to provide the name of the company that called you, their phone number and address and what they offered you.

Check Your Medicare Summary Notice and Billing.
Look for charges for items you did not order or did not receive.  Look for duplicate billings for items you only ordered once, and other irregular charges.  Report any suspicious billing to the hotline or online.

Refuse Items You Did Not Order if a delivery service or the post office tries to deliver them, particularly if your signature is required.  You don’t have to accept a suspicious order.  If it was left with your mail, you can return it to the sender.  Before you do, note the sender’s name and address and report it.

As Medicare fraud is a huge problem and one that is difficult to control, it is up to us to keep it in check at an individual level.  Being aware of the latest scams helps.  If your aging loved one is cognitively impaired, has memory loss, or just has trouble keeping track of things, you, the adult child can step in and do some checking on the Medicare billing yourself. If you live far away, that task can be delegated to paid others you can put in place, such as fiduciaries, care managers or bookkeeping services.

If we all do a little more watching, we can stop more thieves of our tax dollars.

Meanwhile, we wish you well in your own journey with aging loved ones.  If you have a problem and you need help, remember that you can get a complimentary strategy session with us.  Click on

Until next time,

Carolyn Rosenblatt & Dr. Mikol Davis
Aging Parents.com

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