Scam uses Medicare as a front

by Tim Troglen | reporter Published:

Hudson -- Older residents should be extra cautious when giving out personal information over the phone in the wake of a possible scam where a caller claimed to be a Medicare representative.

According to Hudson Police, an older Hudson resident reported he recently received a telephone call from a man who told the resident his "Medicare was changing." The man told police the caller knew his name and address. However, when the caller began asking for personal banking information, the resident hung up and did not provide any.

Elizabeth A. Surgener, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the call sounds like a scam.

The man did the correct thing by hanging up, she said.

"Medicare will never call asking for you to verify your Medicare number or for you to provide banking information," according to Surgener. "Should you receive a call of this nature, we suggest hanging up and reporting it."

Suspicious activity can also be reported online at StopMedicareFraud.gov.

The Affordable Care Act has been used to take steps towards combating health care fraud, waste and abuse,"Surgener added. "The government has made $10.7 billion in recoveries of health care fraud in the last three years."

Fraud fighters now have new rules and sentences for criminals; increased federal sentencing guidelines for health care fraud; enhanced screening to providers and suppliers who may pose a higher risk of fraud or abuse; and state-of-the-art technology to target resources to highly suspect behaviors.

"In Ohio, Pro Seniors is the senior Medicare patrol," Surgener said. "The SMP programs recruit and teach senior volunteers and professionals such as doctors, nurses, accountants, investigators, law enforcement personnel, attorneys, teachers and others to help Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries become better health care consumers."

Medicare scams are prevalent across the U.S. said Anne Fredrickson, project manager for Pro Seniors Inc.

People involved in Medicare fraud even have "spoofing" devices on their telephones which will fool caller identification into thinking the caller is with Medicare, Fredrickson said.

If someone suspects a telephone call was fraudulent, Fredrickson encourages them to call her organization or the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

Fredrickson's organization will also provide free legal advice for anyone over 60.

To report fraud, contact the Ohio Attorney General's Office at 1-800-282-0515.

Email: ttroglen@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9435

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