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Scams to watch out for in the new year

The New Year brings in new beginnings and new opportunity. Everyone starts with a fresh slate. The New Year is a time to set goals and resolutions to improve our health, finances, relationships or even our knowledge. Even as we all set goals to improve ourselves there are those whose main goal is to take advantage of all of us, scammers never seem to rest.

Medicare phone scams happen every day. Medicare will never cold call a beneficiary, so if you are getting calls from “Medicare” out of the blue and they are asking for your information, it is probably a scam. When in doubt, hang up the phone, you can always call Medicare if you have a concern at 1-800-MEDICARE or 1-800-633-4227.

The Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) has sent information on some Medicare scams that are currently making the rounds again. Medicare is NOT sending out new plastic cards or chipped cards or Medicare “gold” cards, so if someone calls you saying they are, please just hang up. Do not give them any information.

Another common scam is someone calls saying you are owed a refund from Medicare. This could be hundreds or even thousands of dollars. They just ask for your Medicare and banking information to process the payment. They amp up the pressure and say you could lose the refund if you do not cooperate and give them the information. This is not real, it is a scam. Hang up!

We are also getting reports from people that they are getting calls to do genetic testing or are being offered genetic testing at informational meetings. The tests offered include testing for cancers, dementia, drug metabolism or Parkinson’s. Again, do not give your information. Your doctor may order genetic testing and can discuss the options with you; Medicare’s coverage of genetic testing is very limited. If you are concerned that someone may have used your Medicare information, please review your Medicare Summary Notice for any genetic tests not ordered by your doctor. A similar take on the genetic testing is calls that offer “free” medical supplies. Verify with your doctor if you believe you are in need of any supplies to make sure they have been ordered and are medically necessary.

The Missouri SMP’s mission is to empower and assist Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers to prevent, detect and report healthcare fraud, errors and abuse. You can do this by being careful and protecting your Medicare and personal information. If you have concerns that a call is not real, hang up. Do not fall for high-pressure tactics to give your information over the phone, call Medicare directly if you have concerns. Check your Medicare Summary Notice for services or providers you do not know. If you find something concerning or if someone contacts you and you suspect a scam, report it to the SMP, 888-515-6565. Together let us make 2023 a safe, healthy New Year.

If you are a senior that needs assistance, please call Aging Matters 800-392-8771. Because, Aging Matters.

Jackie Dover

Jackie Dover

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