For many years, Indiana Senior Medicare Patrol (INSMP) has educated seniors and their caregivers about how to identify scams and fraud to avoid becoming a victim. One of the tools we developed is Cooking for One recipe cards which include tips for preventing fraud and financial exploitation. We are sharing these again now since because of physical distancing, you may have exhausted your “tried and true” recipes and want to try something new.
The titles describe the recipe. Below the title are the reminders they carry. If you suspect you have fallen victim to any of these fraud schemes, we can connect you to the appropriate agency for help, one of our partners in the Indiana Coalition Against Senor Exploitation (IN-CASE).
Meathead Meatloaf in a Mug
Protect your Information – don’t give your Medicare, Social Security, or banking information to MEATHEADS or criminals who might call you unsolicited on the phone, visit your home, email or speak with you at events. Personal information is the commodity of the 21st Century! Protect your Social Security number by placing a security or credit freeze. See the Indiana Attorney General’s Office website for more information.
Scam/SPAM Corn Chowder
Don’t fall victim to SCAMS. Common scams are lottery/sweepstakes scams, the grandparent scam, IRS and Social Security scams, free back/arm/leg braces, genetic testing and Coronavirus prevention, treatment, and bogus test kits scams. Contact a trusted entity like the Better Business Bureau, the Attorney General’s Office, IN-CASE or your Area Agency on Aging before participating in any unsolicited requests.
Foil a Criminal – Baked Fish in Foil
DETECT Medicare fraud by reviewing your Medicare Summary Notices for errors, services or items not received, or double billing. Enroll in MyMedicare.gov and get your notices online. Do the same with your credit/debit card bills and bank statements. It is always a good idea to put alerts on your credit/debit cards so you can stop any unauthorized activity as soon as it occurs. Ask your card issuer for more information. Contact INSMP if you see anything suspicious at 800-986-3505.
Do Time – Lemon Thyme Chicken
REPORT criminals – they can only be convicted and do “thyme” if you report them. Call INSMP at 800-986-3505 if you suspect Medicare Fraud. Familiarize yourself with IN-CASE for information on other organizations dealing with other types of fraud, abuse and exploitation of older adults.
Just Hang Up Hanger Steak
The best way to avoid getting taken advantage of by scammers is not to answer the phone if you have caller ID and don’t recognize the number. Or, let the call go to your answering machine or voice mail so they can leave a message (most times they won’t). If you forget and answer the phone, HANG UP as soon as you realize it is an unwanted call.
Remember, being scammed can happen to anyone. It is nothing to be ashamed of. If you think someone is trying to scam you, reach out to local authorities, a trusted family member or friend, or one of the IN-CASE organizations. We are all physically distancing, but if you are online or have a phone, you don’t have to do this alone.