Don’t Be Fooled By Scammers: 3 Things You Can Do to Avoid Becoming a Victim
Recently, I received two notifications from two clients, regarding scams. The first was to either get money from the beneficiary or change his or her plan. The other was to push final expense insurance. The problem, in this topsy turvy world of Medicare, with all its moving parts, it’s easy to believe the communication is legitimate. Let’s look at each of these and what you can do to avoid falling victim to Medicare scammers.
One of my recipients received a text message purporting that his Part-B would expire at the end of the month. He was to click on the link to be guided to what he needed to do to prevent this from happening.
Since he is a savvy individual, and wasn’t sure whether this was true or not, but knew that if he clicked on the link and it was false, he could fall victim to phishing (the practice of sending emails or text messages as if from real organizations, in order to get the recipient to reveal sensitive information). So, he called me.
Let’s call this beneficiary Skip, so we have someone to reference. Skip called me and asked if this was real. I asked him to read me the text and deduced it was a scam. Keep in mind that your insurance carrier, Social Security nor CMS will ever request sensitive information via a text or email. They will always request you call them or reply via snail mail. Moreover, they won’t ask for sensitive information over the phone either. Therefore, your first hint it’s a scam is of they do require you to divulge sensitive information.
Agents have the ability to call the carriers and check eligibility. If your Part-B were expiring, it would reflect it in eligibility and the carrier would be notified. Moreover, the carrier would then notify the agent that he or she has beneficiary about to lose coverage. Finally, the beneficiary would receive something in the mail from either the carrier, Social Security, CMS or all three.
The other thing to do is call your Member Services number on the back of your insurance ID card. They will verify you are you with your Member ID number and by asking a few security questions, then check the status of your membership in the plan. If it were about to expire, they would know as well.
This scam is pushing final-expense/life insurance. The claim there’s a state program that provides up to $35,000 for funeral expenses. And to top it off! As if $35,000 weren’t enough to get someone to fill out the card and return it, they have to bribe you with a FREE WALMART® GIFT CARD.
If you receive this mailer, or any mailer offering any kind of insurance: final expense, hospital indemnity, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment, Medicare Advantage, etc. Take a picture of it and send it to your agent. If it’s real, he or she can get you the service. You want to deal with someone you already know and trust, than some stranger who doesn’t know your needs and history.
You want to be vigilant. Keep in mind that if you received it in the mail, it’s most likely a marketing piece to sell you something you may or may not need. And the most qualified person to know whether you may benefit from the offering is your agent, who knows you and your needs. This way he or she can guide you, who knows best if you need something, so you can make an educated buying decision.
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