Tell Congress to stop Rx greed and cut prescription drug prices now! Here's how you can help.

AARP Massachusetts Monthly Fraud Watch Update for August 2019

Posted on 07/30/19

FraudWatchNetwork_stacked_gradient.png

Did you know that someone’s identity gets stolen every two seconds? The AARP Fraud Watch Network provides you with tips and resources to help you spot and avoid identity theft and fraud so you can protect yourself and your family. Our watchdog alerts will keep you up to date on con artists’ latest tricks. It’s free of charge for everyone: AARP members, non-members, and people of all ages.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network is:

  • An Educator: Get real-time alerts about the latest scams, tips on how to spot them, and the inside scoop on how con artists think so you can outsmart them before they strike.
  • A Watchdog: Our nationwide scam tracking map gives you access to a network of people who've spotted scams and the opportunity to pass along your own experiences, so together we can beat con artists at their own game.
  • A Resource: Get connected to a real live person trained in how to avoid fraud and advise you if you or a loved one has been scammed by calling our fraud hotline or attending a forum in your community.
  • Free for Everyone: Anyone, of any age, can access our resources at no cost.
Medicare Concept

SCAM ALERT #1: MEDICARE FRAUD

According to Government estimates, Medicare lost $52 billion to fraud, abuse and improper billing in FY2017. Medicare fraud typically involves rogue health care providers or medical suppliers who bill the program for services, equipment or medication that they don’t actually provide, or else inflate the cost of those items. Some will even falsify patients’ diagnoses to justify unnecessary tests, surgeries and other procedures or write prescriptions for patients they’ve never examined. Others use genuine patient information, sometimes obtained through identity theft, to create fake claims.

One of the most effective ways to combat against Medicare fraud is to review your Medicare statements and make sure the dates and services listed are correct. If something doesn’t look right, call your medical provider’s office.

Do Me a Favor-8.12.19.jpg

SCAM ALERT #2: DO ME A FAVOR SCAM

We all want to please our bosses, especially when they need help. This fact is not lost of some scammers who have started sending fake boss messages asking employees for a favor. Several reports have emerged this summer of employees getting texts or emails from their “boss” asking them to purchase gift cards and send the account numbers. The supposed boss might be travelling or claim they are too busy to take care of the task. But once the gift cards are purchased and the information sent, the money is gone.

Because scammers are so good at spoofing email addresses and phone numbers, you don’t always know when your boss really is your boss. However, whenever you are asked to purchase a gift card and give out the card information by phone or email, it is most likely a scam.

Professor and college student at laptop

SCAM ALERT #3: COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP SCAM

It’s back to school season and for many parents and grandparents of college students, that may mean looking for ways to help pay for school. Please beware of scholarship, financial aid and government grant scams. Fraudsters guarantee to award a scholarship as long as you pay an upfront processing fee for their services, but then you never see any scholarship money. To apply for true federal student aid, use the FAFSA, the official online form which is free to submit. Save your money and put it towards education instead.

Senior Woman with Fitness Tracker

SCAM ALERT #4: FREE MEDICAL DEVICE SCAM

One tell-tale sign that should make every consumer suspicious is when something is offered “for free.” These free offer scams are often associated with Medicare. The program spends around $6 billion a year on medical devices, and a market this big draws scammers. In a medical equipment scam, someone reaches out with an offer of a “free” brace, wheelchair or other device. All they need is your Medicare number. Once they have it, scammers can use it to bill the government for devices and services that aren’t needed.

Medicare fraud results in higher deductibles and copays for Medicare beneficiaries, and can even put affected patients at risk. Be suspicious of unsolicited free offers and never give out your Medicare number to anyone who isn’t a trusted health care provider.

This story is provided by AARP Massachusetts. Visit the AARP Massachusetts page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

More from AARP in Springfield

Tell Us What You Think

Please leave your comment below.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.

Upcoming AARP Events

View All AARP Events »

AARP Member Card

Join or Renew Today

JOIN FOR JUST $16 A YEAR

  • Immediate access to your member benefits
  • Discounts on travel and everyday savings
  • Subscription to the award-winning AARP The Magazine
  • An ally on the issues that matter most to you in Springfield
  • Free membership for your spouse or partner
JOIN NOW