Sound Judgment Is Your Best Protection (Part 3)
As millions of seniors are evaluating their 2013 healthcare options during the 2012 Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP), there are scammers trying to cash in.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a victim of Medicare scams. Simply being an informed Medicare consumer and exercising sound judgment should be more than enough to see you through a scam-free Medicare Open Enrollment Period.
If you get a call or visit claiming you’re due a Medicare refund, listen no further.
If you’ve got money coming from Medicare, they’ll mail you a check. Don’t even listen to a visitor or caller claiming otherwise. Some scam artists are so practiced and polished that they can convince normally wise people to do things that aren’t wise at all. We all like to give strangers the benefit of the doubt, but in this day and age you absolutely cannot give an inch to a scammer.
Anyone calling or visiting and claiming you’re due a Medicare refund is almost certainly trying to steal your identity. Even if that person seems to know some of your personal information, don’t provide any further details. Stop talking to the caller or visitor immediately and report the incident by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or filing a Medicare fraud and abuse report.
If you have caller ID, don’t put your trust in it if you get a call that seems suspicious.
Scammers know how to give the impression that they’re someone they’re not. If your caller ID shows the call is coming from a legitimate organization or a number associated with Medicare, don’t be fooled. If you think the call may be legitimate, phone the organization yourself to confirm they made the call. But even if they did, keep in mind they shouldn’t have called you. Remember, you’ll never get a call from a Medicare representative unless you’ve requested it. Stay safe by hanging up the second you’re suspicious, and report the incident at once.
We all love freebies and discounts, but be suspicious of any such offers during Open Enrollment.
Some companies send out brochures during Open Enrollment highlighting new Medicare products they say are available at a savings during the OEP. Never provide personal information in order to receive a discount or free product—and be aware that many of the companies sending out such offers are in the business of scamming seniors. The good news is that they can’t do it if you protect your personal information.
Some private companies try to pressure seniors into purchasing certain Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage plans during the OEP. Don’t rush into any decisions and never buy a plan you don’t have complete confidence in. Better yet, never purchase a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan without consulting MedicareMall first.
You can have a stress-free and scam-free OEP simply by staying on your toes and exercising sound judgment.