Brace yourself: popular health scam promises free medical equipment and fraudulently bills your Medicare
It can happen a few different ways: you might be contacted via a phone call, you might receive a notice or postcard in the mail, or you may choose to contact the individual yourself after seeing an ad in your local circular or newspaper.
And the person you end up speaking to won’t always have the exact same story. Sometimes he’ll be a Medicare representative. Sometimes he’ll say he’s an employee of a medical device manufacturer or supplier. He might even tell you he was referred to you directly by your personal physician.
But though the contact method and back story is variable, what’s definitely going to happen when you start going back and forth with this scammer is he’s going to recommend you take him up on an excellent medical equipment offer.
Has your back troubled you recently? Do you have aches in your knees at all? Well, a brand new back or knee brace might be just the thing to improve your stability and ease your pain in these areas.
And since this equipment is 100% covered by Medicare, you won’t have to come out-of-pocket at all if you’re a Medicare beneficiary.
…So are you currently receiving Medicare? Can I have your card number?
The problem with this scam isn’t that your Medicare won’t cover your new back brace–it’s that the “Medicare representative” on the other end of phone isn’t intending on sending it to you.
That’s because once the scammer has the number on your Medicare card and whatever other personal information he might need, he can bill Medicare for your equipment–whether he sends it to you or not.
Often, back brace scammers don’t stop at just billing for a device they never sent.
Not only do they bill Medicare far more than the device’s actual value, but they’ll go on to repeatedly bill Medicare over time for treatments and equipment you never asked for or received.
Medicare scammers can run up tens of thousands of dollars in fraudulent Medicare claims in your name before they’re discovered.
The bottom line is this: when it comes to your medical treatments and therapies, put your trust in your caregivers alone. Only your doctor knows your history and what your needs are as a patient. All of your medical decision-making, including what therapeutic braces or equipment you might need, can and should be done through a trusted medical professional face-to-face.
Keep your Medicare and personal information private at all times. And never respond to ads, calls, mailings, or emails making medical offers or asking for your personal medical information. Direct all concerns and questions you have about your healthcare to your doctor alone.
Source: The Seniors Center Blog