Senior citizens are more likely to have nest eggs, own their homes and have good credit. While these are all desirable things for older individuals to have, they are also desirable details to scam artists. Individuals who grew up in decades prior to the 1950s were raised to show politeness to all people who call on the phone, so they are more likely to be victimized by callers with crooked agendas. Scam artists know that these polite seniors will likely listen to their entire speeches instead of hanging up the phone abruptly.
Since it can be difficult to remember everything, a caller’s name and everything they say, elderly individuals should keep a notepad by the phone. It is important to ask the caller to repeat any information that was unclear. In many cases, investigators are unable to pursue scam artists due to a lack of adequate details. There are far too many scam artists out there, so it is important for elderly individuals to know how to identify and deal with these thieves. The following are typical fraud schemes to look out for.
Medical Equipment Fraud
Con artists often talk about getting free medical equipment. What they do not tell the buyer is that the person’s insurance company will be charged. In many cases, the equipment is never even delivered.
Rolling Lab Schemes
These are often found at retirement homes, health clubs, malls and senior citizens’ centers. Mobile units offer various tests. However, these are usually fake tests that are billed to Medicare. The people performing the tests may not even have any experience working as a medical practitioner.
This type of fraud can come in many different forms. A service, product or medication is usually offered for free or a very low cost. However, Medicare is billed for the nonexistent item. Keep in mind that a physician must sign a certificate in order for Medicare to approve any medical accessories or services. Some con artists go so far as to offer fraudulent signatures or bribe corrupt physicians to sign. As a rule, it is best to ask a personal physician to sign off for any equipment or services. Many good physicians keep current with various Medicare fraud schemes.
Services Not Performed
With this type of fraud, the insurance company is billed for services that were never completed.
How To Avoid Health Care Fraud & Insurance Fraud
– Do not sign blank claim forms.
– Always ask about billed charges and upfront costs.
– Do not give blanket authorization to medical providers to bill for care.
– Avoid phone salespeople or door-to-door salespeople who advertise free products.
– Only give Medicare or insurance information at the time medical services are performed.
– Review the insurer’s benefits explanation carefully.
– Call the insurer with any questions.
– Know when a physician orders health equipment.
– Keep good records of all medical appointments.
It is also important for elderly individuals to avoid buying prescription or over-the-counter drugs from unknown companies. This can be a dangerous and physically harmful mistake. Know how to identify all prescriptions, and memorize dosages for any prescribed substances. If a prescription drug looks suspicious, contact a trusted pharmacist immediately. For those who have already taken such drugs, it is important to talk to a doctor. If adverse symptoms are present, call the Poison Control Center immediately.