Now through Dec. 7, subscribers can shop for coverage plans, but open enrollment season for some is scam season for others.
“It’s really frustrating,” said Dalton Miller, vice president of Seniority Benefit Group, a Medicare guidance firm in Dublin. “These entities are out there, taking advantage of a vulnerable population.”
Every year around this time, Miller said, seniors 65 and older report getting calls, texts or emails that appear to come from Medicare.
“Somebody reaching out to you, saying they are Medicare, or that your Medicare is going to get canceled because you don’t take some action, you don’t give them your bank account number,” Miller said.
Or perhaps they tell you Medicare is issuing new cards and they need to verify your information, offer limited-time offers to save you thousands of dollars, as well as gifts, like free genetic testing if you provide some of your personal information.
But it’s all a scam.
“These are red flags that you should be looking out for,” Miller said.
Scammers can spoof phone numbers and emails to make them look like the real deal, hoping to convince you to give up your money or your identity. Medicare does not randomly send out new cards, or offer free incentives, and will never reach out to you.
If you are contacted and aren’t sure of what’s real and what’s not, Miller suggests taking a step back and don’t respond. Instead, reach out to Medicare or your insurance company yourself and talk it out with the people you trust.
“You need to work with a professional,” Miller said. “The same way you want to trust your doctor, you need to trust your Medicare agent as well. Work with your family, check with your son or your daughter, or your sister or brother who might have some experience with this to make sure that you’re making the right decision for you.”
If you find yourself caught up in suspicious or fraudulent Medicare enrollment, you can also find help through medicare.gov.