Senior Scams: Tips for Avoiding Elder Fraud

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Just Like Family Home Care is well aware that too many older adults fall prey to scammers who are looking to make a quick buck. Thanks to the National Council of Aging for putting together a list of tips that can help older adults protect themselves from elder fraud.

According to the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, “Elder fraud is an act targeting older adults in which attempts are made to deceive with promises of goods, services, or financial benefits that do not exist, were never intended to be provided, or were misrepresented. Financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use of an older adult’s funds or property.”

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Health Insurance Fraud

  1. Never sign blank insurance claim forms.
  2. Never give blanket permission to a medical provider to bill for services rendered.
  3. Ask your medical providers what they will charge and what you will be expected to pay out-of-pocket.
  4. Carefully review your insurer’s explanation of the benefits statement. Call your insurer and provider if you have questions.
  5. Do not do business with door-to-door or telephone salespeople who tell you that services of medical equipment are free.
  6. Give your insurance/Medicare identification only to those who have provided you with medical services.
  7. Keep accurate records of all health care appointments.
  8. Know if your physician ordered equipment for you.

Medicare Scams

  1. Protect your Medicare number as you do your credit card numbers and do not allow anyone else to use it.
  2. Be wary of salespeople trying to sell you something they claim will be paid for by Medicare.
  3. Review your Medicare statements to be sure you have in fact received the services billed.
  4. Report suspicious activities to 1-800-MEDICARE.

Telemarketing Scams

  1. Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company.
  2. Always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity.
  3. Obtain a salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business.
  4. Always take your time in making a decision.
  5. If you have information about a fraud, report it to state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies.

Home Repair or Contractor Fraud

  1. Be an informed consumer. Take the time to call and shop around before making a purchase. Take a friend with you who may offer some perspective to help you make difficult decisions.
  2. Carefully read all contracts and purchasing agreements before signing and make certain that all of your requirements have been put in writing.
  3. Make sure you understand all contract cancellation and refund terms.
  4. As a general rule take control of all of your transactions as a consumer.
  5. Do not allow yourself to be pressured into making purchases, signing contracts, or committing funds. These decisions are yours and yours alone.

Learn more about scams and how to avoid them at www.ncoa.org/SavvySeniors.

 

 

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