A Medicare scam that has been reported in other cities has recently surfaced in the Cleveland area.
Earlier this week, a local senior contacted BBB to report a suspicious call she received at her home. The caller claimed he was from YSM Discount Medical Program for Seniors (YSM) and told the woman her Medicare card was expiring. She was asked for her bank account number. She provided it and was then told to call 866-238-1695. She wisely called BBB instead.
Similar accounts have been reported in New Jersey, Arizona, Maryland, Louisiana and other states across the country. Some victims have claimed they have had unauthorized debits taken from their accounts by YSM. The callers may have limited information about the person that's easily obtained from public databases to make the call seem legitimate.
“The majority of the Medicare related scams involve some form of identity theft”, said BBB President and CEO, David Weiss. “Personal information should never be given to unknown callers who request it.”
Medicare and Medicaid will not call to update information or issue a new card. Those who receive such calls should hang up and report them to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General at oig.hhs.gov or call 1-800-447-8477.
BBB advises seniors to:
Ø Be suspicious of any door-to-door or telephone solicitations claiming to be affiliated with Medicare.
Ø Be wary of anyone offering you something for “free” in exchange for your Medicare number. Remember, Medicare will not pay for medical equipment without a physician’s signature certifying that it is necessary.
Ø Do not provide your bank account information, Medicare number, social security number or any other personal information to unknown individuals over the phone; particularly telephone marketers claiming to be from Medicare and asking for payment.
Ø Review medical bills, Medicare Summary notices and insurance Explanation of Benefits for medical equipment or service charges that you did not incur. If you find unusual or questionable medical charges, contact your health care provider immediately.
Ø Only give your insurance/Medicare information to those who have provided you with medical services.
Ø Never sign blank Medicare insurance forms.
Call BBB Serving Northern Indiana at 1.800.552.4631 to check out suspicious calls or offers if you receive any calls such as this.