A recent report in The Roanoke Times highlighted a growing vulnerability in the Medicare system – suspicious phone solicitations targeting potential beneficiaries as they prepare to sign up for Medicare. These calls specifically target Medicare-eligible adults and purportedly offer to assist them with Medicare options and the application process. While some calls may be from legitimate companies, there is no way to determine over the phone whether the caller is a con artist. Additionally, the risk in these situations is elevated since signing up requires an applicant to give the caller sensitive and personal information.
Other news articles over the past year have also highlighted the increasing emergence of phone and email solicitations targeting Medicare-eligible adults. Some examples include robocalls attempting to sell “Medicare covered genetic testing,” emails pretending to come from the individual’s employer claiming they need to review and confirm their benefits during Medicare Open Enrollment, or telemarketers falsely claiming to represent private insurance companies selling health insurance policies. Some of these scams mask their real numbers with the published customer service telephone numbers for major insurance companies so that they appear legitimate on caller ID.
The FCC and other authorities warn: don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately. Additionally, if you are unsure about whether an insurance plan is valid, contact your state insurance commissioner’s office or call the customer service number on the plan’s official website and speak with an official representative for that plan.
Giving out personal financial or identifying information to unsolicited calls exposes people to financial risk. Don’t do it – and remind others not to.
March 17, 2022 – J. Lalor
 Casey, D. (2022, March 8). CASEY: Beware of phone solicitors selling Medicare plans. Roanoke Times. https://roanoke.com/news/local/casey-beware-of-phone-solicitors-selling-medicare-plans/article_6e1d6792-9e66-11ec-92d9-bfcc189c06d4.html
 Shadel, B. D. (2021, August 5). “Becky From Medicare” Robocall Is Sweeping the Nation. AARP. https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2021/new-medicare-robocall.html
 Better Business Bureau. (2021, December 14). BBB Scam Alert: Beware of health care cons during open enrollment. BBB. https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/14295-bbb-warning-beware-medicare-and-aca-scams-during-open-enrollment
 Stop Unwanted Robocalls and Texts. (2022, March 7). Federal Communications Commission. https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/stop-unwanted-robocalls-and-texts