October is time for cooler days, warmer drinks, and the start of Medicare Open Enrollment Period. If you have Medicare, October 15 – December 7 is when you can make changes to your Medicare health and Part D prescription drug plans. About now, you’ll probably be seeing ads from plans by mail, email, phone, and on TV. You might hear from scammers, too — but how will you know?
Medicare scammers often look official. They pretend to be from or connected to Medicare, or to a business you know. Their goal? Steal your information. To avoid the scammers:
- Never give personal information to anyone who contacts you out of the blue. Even if the request seems to come from Medicare. They might ask for things like your Medicare, Social Security, or financial account numbers. But Medicare doesn’t call people unexpectedly and ask for your Medicare number or financial information. They won’t call you to sell insurance or health care products. Not sure that call is legitimate? Hang up and call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE.
- Don’t respond to anyone who seems to be from Medicare and asks for your personal info. They might reach out by phone, mail, email, social media message, or text. They might include the Medicare name. They might look or seem government-y. But as soon as they ask for your Medicare, Social Security, or financial account numbers, you know it’s a scam. The real Medicare doesn’t ask for that kind of information. Also, don’t click on links, open any attachments, or call any numbers if you get those messages. They’re probably phishing for your personal or financial information. Throw away the mail, delete the messages, or get off the phone.
Get help comparing Medicare costs, coverage, and plans from the State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) in all U.S. states and territories. To report someone pretending to be from Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE, then tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
- We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
- We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
- We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
- We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.
I can’t tell you how many callls I get from Medicare. It is very annoying.
Thank You,I’m sure glad that their is groups of folks like y’all out there to watch our backs.Old guys like me really appreciate everything that you’re doing.
I got a phone call. The lady told me she was from Medicare. I asked her why the phone number was from our area and had a neighbor's name as the caller ID? She just said that she was from medicare. I hung up.
Thank you!! Yes, we have been contacted and fortunately have not responded.
Could these articles specify what to look for in Bonafide Medicare coverage solicitations? What should Medicare shoppers be looking for?
EXTREMELY helpful information! Thank you for all you do. I truly appreciate the daily emails with consumer alerts.
As usual great to see the government protecting us from predators.
Another way to avoid scams: if your current plan is good, stick with it. If not, contact a real live insurance agent.
I've been seeing ads on TV, my email and through the mail and wondered about it. Luckily I didn't do anything and then my agent from Medicare sent me an email to set up an appointment. If you signed up with and agent wait until he/she contacts you to make any changes.
I get these scam calls constantly from phone numbers that have been faked, or "spoofed," to show on Caller ID as in-state or local numbers when the calls are coming from another state or country. I never answer such calls, letting them go to voicemail. However, the scam callers have been trained to say "Hello, hello, are you there?" in a pleading voice to try to entice me to feel guilty and talk to them. A strong indicator that the calls are scams is when you hear the sounds of multiple voices in a call center in the background. Never answer any such calls!
In the last month, I have received at least 70 calls from medicare insurance providers. I am on a national do not call list. Unfortunately, they are not included on the re portable list. my phone is my lifeline to family and friends and some days I shut my phone off in order to not be bothered. I have blocked the numbers but that doesn't work as the numbers are burners on their end. My phone at this point is useless.
In reply to In the last month, I have… by joseph cote
THAT IS BECAUSE IT IS AEP ( ANNUAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD) MEANING EVERYONE ON ON MEDICAID GETS CALLED TO UPDATE THEIR PLANS
I do not have a typewriter and your message, above, tells me to call Medicare if I suspect a fraudulent call, but the "number" you give for Medicare is . . . "800-Medicare"! If you had a little more space you could convert that garbage into actual numbers, or give us a chart that converts the "word, Medicare" to the appropriate numbers.
In reply to I do not have a typewriter… by William R Lee
The phone number for Medicare is 1-800-MEDICARE. Look at the dial or buttons on your phone to see that is the same as 1-800-63342273. Dial those numbers to connect to Medicare.
In reply to I do not have a typewriter… by William R Lee
you must have a computer to respond or at least a phone? Don't need a typewriter lol
Thank you for your so helpful emails.
well I am alway suspicious about those TV ads about Medicare Plans
now those I super believe are total scams cause they AREN'T affiliated with Medicare in the 1st place!!
In reply to well I am alway suspicious… by microbuss
We have gotten so many calls, I don't answer, however I answered this call ,
saying Sarah from Medicare...and I asked with whom would you like to speak?She immediately drop her receiver. Calls are now coming after 8 and 9 at night and Saturdays and Sundays!
I receive SO MANY scam phone calls - approx. 16 every day! I don't answer anymore - just listen to the rings and operator's message. A set of 3 rings and 1 more message and 1 more ring and that's it! If it's any different, I answer or call the person back right away. Do wish they would stop.
Do not send no more mail to my home!!!!!!!!!