In honor of my Caught Dead in Wyoming mystery series, my assistant Gabriella Samuels is writing for my newsletter and blog a series of consumer tips inspired by TV reporter Elizabeth Margaret Danniher.
Imagine you get a call from someone saying they’re a health insurance company. They are offering discounts and plans that sound too good to pass up. Now let’s imagine you get a call from someone who claims to be a government official, saying there’s an issue with your Medicare number or you need a new card. They might ask for personal information or even financial information like a credit card or bank details. These are some methods scammers are using to steal your data and money.
Since 2020, health care scams have surged and continue to cause great financial loss. According to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, between 3% – 10% of financial healthcare losses have been because of scams. That could be as much as $300 billion.
Here are some ways scammers might try to get information from you:
- Scammers will say they’re from the government, ask for money, bank information, or personal information.
- Scammers say you need to pay a fee for a new Medicare card or claim there’s an issue with your card number with the threat that you’ll lose your Medicare coverage.
- Scammers try to sell you a fake medical discount plan which actually end up charging you a monthly fee.
- Scammers want your sensitive personal information in exchange for a price quote.
- Scammers want you to pay for help with the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Remember, no government agency will call you out of the blue and ask for money or personal information. Insist on seeing a statement or a copy of the policy you’re researching. Also, never accept vague answers. Legitimate healthcare plan representatives will answer your questions without passing you along to another source.
If you think a health insurance scam or discount has targeted you, report it to ReportFraud.ftc.gov
Before you share any information, call Medicare (1-800-MEDICARE)
Contact your health insurance provider directly and make sure to use the customer service number from their website.
And when in doubt, hang up.