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State warns seniors to protect themselves from Medicare scams

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Posted at 8:49 AM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 08:49:45-05

LANSING, Mich. — State agencies are warning seniors to protect themselves from scams and high pressure sales tactics as Open Enrollment for Medicare Open Enrollment ending Dec. 7.

Fraudsters posing as Medicare representatives are calling consumers about their Medicare coverage and asking for Medicare ID numbers or other personal information – like Social Security Numbers or date of birth – according to the Department of Insurance & Financial Services and the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.

Once the scammers have this information, they can use it to make unauthorized changes to the senior’s Medicare plan.

"Every year as Medicare open enrollment ends, unscrupulous actors try to take advantage of the pressing deadline to target our seniors,” DIFS Director Anita Fox said. “It is important that Medicare participants protect themselves by not giving out personal information to anyone who tries to solicit their business over the phone, online, or at their front door."

The state offers the following tips to protect yourself:

  • Never give your Medicare number or other personal information to an unknown caller. You are always able to get information on Medicare plans without providing an ID number. The only time the Medicare ID number is required is when you are actually enrolling in a plan.
  • Do not give out your personal information if someone calls or visits your home and says they’re from Medicare. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will never call or send someone to your home to ask for personal information or check your Medicare number.
  • Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers use technology to make it look like they are calling from a legitimate business or government agency.
  • Ignore anyone who calls saying you must join their prescription drug plan or you will lose your Medicare coverage. While it is true that there may be a penalty if you delay enrolling in the Medicare prescription drug plan (also known as Part D), that coverage is voluntary.
  • Don’t trust mailers that appear to be government communications but are advertisements for private companies. These mailers will sometimes have a disclaimer, but it is buried in small print.