As Congress and the new Trump administration talk about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), fraudsters are taking advantage of the confusion.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network reports that fraudsters are posing as insurance company representatives, or someone from Medicare or another federal agency, calling consumers asking for personal information, sometimes money.

“What usually happens is someone will call claiming that you’re entitled to get something free from Medicare — a walker, knee brace — that all you have to do is verify your Medicare number which is, of course, your Social Security number,” said Jane Margesson of the Portland AARP office. 

The call typically comes from out of the blue. The caller claims to be from Medicare, much like the IRS scam, Margesson said.

They call with spoofing devices that show up on Caller ID saying “Medicare” or a number indicating it’s from Washington, D.C. with a 202 area code.

“All of this is part of the disguise,” Margesson said.

If you get a call from someone saying they’re from Medicare, hang up and call Medicare directly at 1-800-MEDICARE, Margesson said. If a person is really entitled to a free product or service, the real Medicare will be happy to explain how to get it.

And don’t fall for bogus requests to verify patient information, promises of refunds or requests for payment of future premiums.

For more information on preventing becoming a fraud victim, go to www.medicare.gov.

Also more information is available on AARP’s blog:  http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2016/war-on-medicare-fraud.html

Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more fraud prevention tips.

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