Don’t Fall Victim to Elder Fraud (Part 2) #MondayMorningBlog
Last week I was sharing with you the most common scams that target the elderly. This week let’s talk about tips to help avoid these scams, provided courtesy of the National Council on Aging.
Never sign blank insurance claim forms.
- Never give blanket permission to a medical provider to bill for services rendered.
- Ask medical providers what they charge and what the out-of-pocket portion will be.
- Carefully review your insurer’s explanation of benefits statement. If you have questions call the insurer and ask.
- Don’t do business with door-to-door or telephone salespeople who tell you that medical equipment is free.
- Only give your insurance/Medicare ID to those who have provided you with medical services.
- Keep accurate records of all your health care appointments.
- Know if your physician ordered equipment for you.
- Protect you Medicare number as carefully as you do your credit card numbers.
- Be wary of salespeople who claim that something they are selling you is paid for by Medicare.
- Review your Medicare statements to be sure you have received the services being billed to you.
- Report suspicious activities to 1-800-MEDICARE.
- Don’t buy from unfamiliar companies.
- Always ask for and wait to receive written material about any offer or charity.
- Obtain a saleperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address and business license number before you transact business.
- Always take your time in making a decision.
- Be an informed consumer. Shop around before making a purchase. Take a friend or family member with you who can offer some perspective to help you make difficult decisions.
- Carefully read all contracts and purchasing agreements before signing and make sure all requirements are in writing.
- Make sure you understand all cancellation and refund terms.
- Take control of all your transactions as a consumer.
- Don’t allow yourself to be pressured to make a purchase, sign a contract or commit funds.
If you are a victim of fraud or want to report a scam, contact any of the following:
- Your local FBI office
- AARP ElderWatch 1-800-222-4444 or www.aarpelderwatch.org
- Better Business Bureau www.bbb.org/scam-stopper