Tuesday, May 21, 2019

'Free cancer test' scam hits Spokane

Last month, we warned about a new scam targeting people on Medicare that's related to genetic testing and cancer screening tests. The scam recently hit Spokane.

KHQ in Spokane aired a story about a woman who got a cold call from a scammer saying she was eligible through Medicare for a free cancer screening test. A swab would be mailed to her, she'd use it and then mail it back. Unfortunately, the woman provided her personal information to the scammer.

Please remember the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of Medicare fraud:
  • Do not give out your Medicare number or Social Security number, especially if you are contacted by someone you don't know or have never spoken to before.  If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.
  • Do not consent to any lab tests at senior centers, health fairs, or in your home. Be suspicious of anyone claiming that genetic tests and cancer screenings are provided free, at no cost to you.
  • Genetic tests and cancer screenings must be medically necessary and your doctor must order them to be covered by Medicare. Random genetic testing and cancer screenings are not covered by Medicare. If you're interested in the test, talk to your doctor.
  • Monitor your Medicare Summary Notice to see if there are any services you were billed for that you didn’t have or didn’t want. Medicare Summary Notices are sent every three months if you get any services or medical supplies during that three-month period.
SHIBA is Washington state's Senior Medicare Patrol project. If you have a question or suspect fraud or abuse, call us at 1-800-562-6900 and ask to speak with SHIBA.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

OIC impersonator contacting auto collision victims

We recently received a report that a marketer is making calls to people who have been in auto collisions impersonating the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to sign people up for chiropractic appointments.

There are several problems with this, starting with the fact that it's illegal.The OIC doesn't cold-call people and we don't recommend specific businesses, whether it be a medical provider, auto repair shop or insurer.

Here are some red flags that someone may be trying to scam you:

  • Unsolicited calls from an organization you’ve never been in contact with or heard of before. Traffic collision and police records are available to the public and can be used to market to people.
  • A vague or nonspecific business name like “your insurance company,” “insurance commission” or something very broad like “collision consultants.”
  • They ask you for personally identifying information. Before you agree to anything or give financial information, ask some questions to try to figure out who the person represents. Do not give your insurance policy number bank or credit card information. It’s not uncommon for people to be trying to steer you to a specific business.

If you get a call of this nature, please report it to us online or by calling 1-800-562-6900. It helps us to have as many details as possible: the caller's name, phone number, organization they represent, time of day they called, place where they referred you.