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  • Writer's pictureClay Caron

Guarding Against Medicare Scams: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: Apr 10

Today more than ever, scammers are targeting Medicare beneficiaries in an attempt to obtain personal information such as Medicare numbers, Social Security numbers, bank account information, passwords and other personally identifying information. While it might seem as though these schemes are easily identifiable, they’ve become very sophisticated and even the most astute person may be unable to realize what’s happening before it’s too late. It’s extremely important to recognize common warning signs and be vigilant in protecting your personal information.


There are many tactics currently being used to target Medicare beneficiaries. Most commonly, scammers will use phone contact but may also reach out via direct mail, email, or text message. Typically, the information obtained is used to commit identity theft. Medicare fraud costs the government and taxpayers an estimated $100 billion every year (an estimated $310 per person in the United States).


Large call center agencies using well-known personalities like football players or comedians in their advertising also target Medicare beneficiaries to gain their business by switching their plans. Many times, the consumer has no idea that they’re changing their coverage or what the new plan entails. Many callers are actually led to believe they’re calling Medicare for advice. They are prompted to provide their zip codes to see if they qualify for benefits that are, in general, available to everyone anyway. They are tempted by the lure of money back in their Social Security checks and threatened by the possibility that their doctors may not be in-network for the plan they currently have.


Medicare scammers are great at disguising themselves. They may claim to work for a government agency such as Medicare, Social Security or the Department of Social Services - and can even use caller ID to make it look like that’s where they’re actually calling from. Correspondence sent via email or direct mail may look and sound like it’s something that requires an urgent response, otherwise your coverage will be terminated. You may be directed to websites that appear to be legitimate, asking you to enter your information or even make a payment. Be aware of anyone offering free items or services, pressuring you to change your plan and stating that your Medicare needs to be “updated”, or claims you’re eligible for a refund.


Medicare scams are very prevalent and can happen to anyone. Here are a few things to be aware of in order to protect your personal information.


  • Don’t share your Medicare number or Social Security number with anyone who randomly contacts you asking for it. Medicare will never call you unsolicited.

  • Don’t respond to emails and texts that seem suspicious. If you feel that the communication is authentic, you may always call whichever agency they’re claiming to represent to verify.

  • Usually, communications will indicate that if you don’t give your personal information, your current insurance is going to terminate. This is a scare-tactic which works quite well. If you’ve stayed up-to-date on your premium payments, there aren’t many reasons why your plan or Medicare would terminate out of the blue. It’s also very easy to contact Medicare or your insurance carrier to check on your plan status and see if there are any outstanding requirements.

  • Despite sounding professional, be aware of anyone who is pressuring you to give information or make changes. They may come up with false promises or threats, and grasp at just about anything to get the information out of you. The more pressure someone is applying to get that information, the greater the likelihood it’s a scam.

  • Never respond to a genetic testing kit that shows up randomly. This is a common tactic scammers are using to obtain protected health information (PHI).

If you feel you’ve been targeted by a Medicare scammer, contact Medicare directly at 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) to report your case. Please share this article with friends and family members, as adults of all ages can become victims of scammers!


Clay Caron is the Principal Agent responsible for client and consumer issues at Senior Americans Resources, a Connecticut-based business serving the Senior market since 1989. For more information, visit www.senioramericansresources.com or call 203-744-3705.


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