Scammers Out In Force on Health Care Reform [05-03-10]

Filed under: Industry Updates — Editor @ 8:58 am

On April 28, 2010 Ohio’s Attorney General’s office issued a press release indicating that over the past several weeks they have received an influx of complaints against scammers regarding Medicare and the changes in Health Care Reform. 

In some of the phone calls, they pretend to be with Medicare or the Social Security Administration. In others, they say they’re with an official-sounding but nonexistent organization such as the National Medical Office. Or they may claim to be calling from a medical equipment company.  “We have received notice from 28 Ohioans who were contacted by someone identifying themselves as a Medicare representative,” said Cordray. “All of the calls came from the phone number (866) 234-2255 and, in each, the caller requested personal information including bank account numbers. Ohioans should never give out personal information through unsolicited contact whether it be by phone or e-mail.”  Cordray said this Medicare scam targeted consumers from locations across the state, including Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Coshocton, Fairfield, Lima, Lisbon, Mansfield, Stow and Warren.

The callers claimed that they needed consumers’ bank account information to issue a new benefits card and threatened to terminate the consumers’ benefits if they did not provide that information.  As AARP reported yesterday as well – “When people refuse to provide the requested information, a phony supervisor comes on the line to say that the information must be provided to remain enrolled in the Medicare program,” says West Virginia Attorney General Darrell V. McGraw Jr. “The thieves then use information collected to steal victims’ identities and remove funds from accounts through checks and electronic transactions.”  In West Virginia and other states, many people who receive these bogus calls report that their caller ID displayed the incoming number as 866-234-2255. When Scam Alert dialed that number, a recorded message said that “Medicare scammers are spoofing” it, meaning that the number was being electronically hijacked. The message said that anyone getting a call with that number popping up should file reports with their state attorney general’s office or the Federal Trade Commission. That phone number has been used since last year in this scam and others.  OCHCH is encouraging all home health and hospice providers to remind their clients that they need to be aware of these scams. Inform your clients that major changes to their plans will not come by way of phone calls, emails, or door to door visits. In the event of any changes, official notice would come by mail.  To access a fact card provided by AARP regarding Health Care Fraud please click AARP Fraud Fact Sheet.

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