BATON ROUGE, La. – Those looking to commit fraud are constantly inventing new ways to take advantage of people. Unfortunately, scammers can be very determined and will go out of their way to gain your trust.
According to the National Council on Aging, one in 10 Americans over age 60 can become the victim of fraud each year. Plus, there is a significant increase in scams targeting Medicare beneficiaries during the annual enrollment period, which lasts through Dec. 7.
In this video, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana’s manager of Federal Investigations, Kandyce Cowart, shares some tips to help stop scammers during annual enrollment and any time of the year.
Here are some things to look out for to avoid becoming a victim of fraud:
Phone calls from people who say they are from Medicare or the federal government and ask you to verify or give them your Medicare number
Remember to never give any personal information such as your Medicare number, Social Security number, or your health plan information over the phone to anyone you don’t know
Just because people claim to be a trusted source or an authority figure doesn’t mean they are
If something doesn’t seem right, hang up the phone immediately
An agent who uses misleading or high-pressure sales tactics to get you to enroll in a certain plan
You should never feel pressured into signing up for a plan
Take the time you need to think about the plan that is right for you
Someone who calls you without notice claiming to be with a health plan
Protect your personal information – health plans, including Blue Cross, will not cold call you just to ask for your financial, health or other private information. From time to time, Blue Cross may call new members to make sure they understand their plans and how to use their benefits, but they would never ask for financial, health or other private information. If you are uncertain about someone who says they are calling from your plan, you can always hang up and call your plan’s customer service number to verify the caller.
Don’t share with anyone, especially if they’re using scare tactics or creating a sense of urgency
Call the number on the back of your insurance member ID card if you have any questions or want to verify this information is needed for your plan coverage
For some fraud-fighting tips anyone can use, watch this video featuring Blue Cross Medical Director Dr. Larry Simon.
If you think you may have been the victim of fraud or have been approached by a scammer, be sure to report it immediately. Blue Cross members should call our fraud hotline at 1-800-392-9249 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you aren’t a Blue Cross member, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.