PIERRE, S.D – Attorney General Marty Jackley is warning seniors that various Medicare and Medicaid telemarketing scams are resurfacing in South Dakota. Consumers have filed complaints with the Division of Consumer Protection and the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) involving fraudulent telemarketing calls targeting Medicare and Medicaid recipients. Fraudsters are attempting to obtain personal information that could be used to file fraudulent Medicare or Medicaid claims, to commit identity theft, or to gain access to financial accounts.
Consumers are receiving unsolicited phone calls from such entities as diabetic supply companies offering free diabetic supplies. The caller then asks for the consumer’s Medicare number over the phone. In some instances the caller claims to be a government agency representative and informs the consumer that they are eligible for new medical equipment or supplies that are generally covered under Medicare. The caller then asks the consumer to confirm their Medicare number for eligibility and identity.
“Exercise extreme caution before accepting any health care services that are offered over the phone, including diabetic supplies,” said Jackley. “Never give away sensitive information such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or financial account numbers to someone who calls on the phone,” said Jackley.
Durable medical equipment (DME) companies that work with Medicare are prohibited from making unsolicited telemarketing calls. Therefore, anyone who is making such calls is already in violation of Medicare’s rules.
“Medicare will never make unsolicited calls to a beneficiary. The only objective in making these calls is to victimize our seniors,”said Jackley. “Seniors should remain vigilant in protecting their Medicare numbers and other personal information.”
If seniors receive any phone calls such as this scam they should report it to Attorney General’s Consumer Protection at 800-300-1986 or by going to their website at www.atg.sd.gov. You may also report it to the SMP at 1-800-822-8804 East River and 1-800-695-8168 West Riveror the Medicare Fraud Hotline at 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477), or the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at 605-773-4102.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Friday, June 17, 2011
CONTACT: Sara Rabern, (605) 773-3215