Medicare News: Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Scams
The COVID-19 outbreak startled us, and has left seniors age 65+ with extra concerns. The team at CoverageCoach understands! We’re here to alert you to potential Medicare and Medicare Advantage scams happening in the US.
COVID-19 Scams that Target Seniors on Medicare & Medicare Advantage Plans
On April 10, 2020, Cristina Miranda of the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that “Coronavirus kit” scam phone calls are cropping up all over the nation.
- Seniors need to know that neither Medicare nor Medicare Advantage plans are offering any kind of COVID-19 “kit.”
- No one from Medicare or your Medicare Supplement plan provider will contact you about one.
- Scammers might call you on the phone, text you, or email you.
- They might offer a COVID Care Kit or a Coronavirus Benefit Program etc.
Regardless of the name they use for it, there is no special COVID-19 care kit. If they offer you one, just hang up!
How to Recognize a COVID-19 / Medicare Scam
You’ll always know a scam when they start asking about your Social Security Number (SSN), banking information or account numbers, credit card numbers, and the like. But here are some other ways to tell:
- Their emails or paperwork will have poor grammar.
- They’ll know your phone number, but nothing else about you.
- They’ll start acting very pushy, even threatening!
- Sometimes scammers will threaten to take away your benefits, your retirement, or even call the cops. Medicare representatives would NEVER DO THAT!
- If they call back again after you hang up, tell them you’re going to report them to the FTC.
- Don’t believe any of their threats. Scammers have no power over you.
There are other scams besides the “COVID Care Kit” going around too.
COVID-19 Testing Scams
Beware of any phone call or email that requires you to take a COVID-19 test. These con-artists will say they’re from a government agency or even Medicare. They’ll ask for your health insurance information, including your Medicare, Medicare Supplement or Medicaid numbers, and other personal information.
Their goal is to get your personal information and use it to bill Medicare or your private health insurance plan for procedures and pocket the money. The FBI says seniors age 65+ should be cautious of any unsolicited offers that require or request your medical insurance information.
COVID-19 Treatment Scams
Know that as of May 2020, there is no known cure for Coronavirus, nor any vaccine.
- If you get a call that someone would like to come and vaccinate you or treat you, it’s a scam.
- If you get a call like this, hang up! Then report it to the FTC here.
We’d suggest you be very wary of anyone calling to sell you gloves, masks, breathing treatments, or medicines.
Ultimately, the COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone concerned, seniors in particular. And for a good reason! But high-anxiety situations like this cause us to make mistakes about giving out our personal information to con-artists.