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Robin Thompson: Don’t become a victim of Medicare fraud

The Senior LinkAge Line is Minnesota’s federally designated State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and the place to call for questions and information on Medicare and much more.

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Reader Opinion letter

No one ever thinks they could be a victim, until it happens to them. People who take advantage of others are often very savvy. They pay attention to what is happening in people’s lives that they can exploit.

Scammers know that at age 65, people become eligible for Medicare, which makes them perfect targets. These scammers also know that people understand little about Medicare.

Medicare is complicated and most people don’t know whether they need to enroll or who to go to with their questions.

It is important to know that scammers will typically contact you by phone.

They may call claiming to be a representative from Medicare. They may tell you they need to verify your information to enroll you in Medicare or they may tell you your Medicare information was compromised.

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They intend to gather your personal information and use it to commit fraud.

This simply isn’t true. Medicare will only call you requesting personal information in these situations:

  • A Medicare health or drug plan can call you if you’re already a member of the plan. The agent who helped you join can also call you.
  • A customer service representative from 1-800-MEDICARE can call you if you’ve called and left a message or a representative said that someone would call you back.
  • If someone calls claiming they are from Medicare and asks for personal information, hang up the phone and call 1-800-MEDICARE.

For information about how to protect yourself from Medicare fraud, see Protecting Yourself & Medicare Fraud, a Center for Medicare & Medicaid publication.
If you believe you are a victim of Medicare fraud, call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 800-333-2433 to get help.

This free, statewide service of the Minnesota Board on Aging is a partnership with Minnesota’s Area Agencies on Aging.

The Senior LinkAge Line is Minnesota’s federally designated State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and the place to call for questions and information on Medicare and much more.

Robin Thompson
Information & Assistance Director
Senior LinkAge Line and Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging

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