Prevent Medicare/Insurance Fraud

Prevent Medicare/Insurance Fraud

Nebraska’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) continues to share information in an effort to prevent Medicare/insurance fraud and scams. Here are a list of the scams and fraudulent activities that have been reported recently in Nebraska. If you know of any additional scams or fraud, please email Carol Harrah at carol.harrah@nebraska.gov  

Scam Calls Claiming to be Social Security

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) continues to receive reports from across the country about fraudulent phone calls from people claiming to be from SSA. The callers are threatening legal action or arrest and asking for sensitive information such as SSN and bank account information.  We have heard from several Nebraskans that they have received this call.

The Social Security Advisory Board typically does not contact the general public to request personal information over the phone. Moreover, government employees will never threaten you to obtain personal information or payments. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up. For more information click the link below:

https://oig.ssa.gov/newsroom/news-releases/may17-advisory

Fingerprint Kit Scam

This week, the Mississippi SMP program reported a senior received a package in the mail with “Do Not Open Package Until You Call This Number” printed on the outside.  The woman called the number and the package contained a fingerprint kit.  She called the number and was walked through how to take her own fingerprints and then packaged up the kit in an envelope provided.  UPS was at her door to pick up the package within an hour of the call ending.  This is very scary as she does not know who sent it or why they want her fingerprints.  As with all scams, please do not respond to these types of request.  Below are two articles that show the potential risk of having your fingerprints stolen – this is a new way individuals can have their personal and banking information compromised.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/03/new-biometrics/520695/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2015/09/23/opm-now-says-more-than-five-million-fingerprints-compromised-in-breaches/?utm_term=.f07021e96eb7

Protecting Nebraska’s Seniors
The Nebraska Attorney General would like to remind everyone that elder fraud is elder abuse.  Scam artists across the country and around the world attempt to defraud Nebraskans, and especially seniors, every day. Elder fraud and abuse is more than a frustration and nuisance. It is a real threat that is impacting not only the quality but also the length of life.  

Recognize the Signs and Take Action! 

Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Be direct. Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone or shut the door on unwanted solicitations. Everyone, regardless of age, sex, education level, financial situation or where they live, is a potential victim. Seniors may be targeted more because they are perceived by scam artists to have more free time or may be more trusting.
  • Never pay money up front to collect a prize.
  • Be aware that wiring money is just like sending cash. Once you send it, it is gone for good.
  • Review financial statements regularly.
  • Don't carry your social security card, birth certificate or passport in your purse or wallet, except when absolutely necessary.
  • Ask a neighbor, family member, friend, banker, or trusted advisor if you have doubts about an offer or business.
  • Call law enforcement immediately if you think you have been victimized. Never accept the help of someone who calls you and offers to help recover the losses in a scam “for a small fee.” Odds are it is the same scam artist coming back for more.
  • Order a credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus through www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Scammers may also target seniors for identity theft. To help ward off identity theft, be sure to protect your personal information by shredding the following:
    • Receipts,
    • Credit cards and other offers of credit,
    • Credit card statements,
    • Mailing labels from magazines,
    • Copies of credit applications,
    • Insurance forms,
    • Bank checks and statements and expired charge cards, and
    • Any other item that might have account numbers, physicians’ statements, customer numbers or membership numbers.