Beware of the Newest Health Scam

There’s a new fraud scheme out on the street, this time involving genetic testing/cancer screening.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is alerting the public that scammers are offering Medicare beneficiaries cheek swabs for genetic testing/cancer screening to obtain their Medicare information for identity theft or fraudulent billing purposes. Fraudsters are targeting beneficiaries through telemarketing calls, via Facebook, booths at public events/health fairs and door-to-door visits. If a beneficiary agrees to genetic testing/cancer screening or verifies personal or Medicare information, a testing kit is sent even if it is not ordered by a physician or medically necessary.

One of our partners in scam reporting, WTHR’s Bob Segal, has been hot on the trail with this news story.

Here is how to protect yourself:

  • If a genetic testing/cancer screening kit is mailed to you, don’t accept it unless it was ordered by your physician. Refuse the delivery or return it to the sender. Keep a record of the sender’s name and the date you returned the items.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who offers you free genetic testing and then requests your Medicare number. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.
  • A physician that you know and trust should approve any requests for genetic testing. Medicare does cover genetic testing for cancer screening in specific instances.
  • Medicare beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare numbers. If anyone other than your physician’s office requests your Medicare information, do not provide it.
  • If you suspect Medicare fraud, contact the Indiana Senior Medicare Patrol program, a federally-funded program at the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging at Indiana SMP at (800) 986-3505 or (317) 205-9201, x207. Ask for Nancy Moore, Indiana SMP program director.

Dishonest Durable Medical Equipment (DME) providers target Medicare recipients by offering so-called “free” medical equipment

Dishonest Durable Medical Equipment (DME) providers target Medicare recipients by offering so-called “free” medical equipment, like knee and back braces. Below are three easy tips Seniors can follow to avoid being victims of DME Fraud:

  1. Don’t order medical items or services over the phone, unless your physician advised it. If anyone other than your physician’s office requests you to provide your Medicare information, hang up!
  2. Never accept “free” medical equipment or services in exchange for your Medicare number. Nothing is ever free.
  3. Review your Medicare Summary Notices or Explanation of Benefits paperwork for items that appear that you did not order or receive and report any discrepancies immediately.

If you suspect fraud has occurred, report it immediately by calling the Indiana Senior Medicare Patrol office at 800-986-3505.

Learn more about Medicare Fraud and Abuse [PDF].