How best to avoid "Medicare" related scam and spam calls
When enrolling in Medicare, neither Social Security nor Medicare calls you to get information. In the event Medicare or Social Security needs any information from you, they will send you a letter to notifying you. The Federal Trade Commission's "Do Not Call" list has become increasingly unreliable to stop spam calls with VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) services which can be used to disguise phone number.
However, if you, receiving continual spam phone calls, it would be prudent to add both your personal and/or cell phone numbers onto Do Not Call list as Medicare beneficiaries are likely to receive phone calls once they become eligible for Medicare. Let's dive into how to stop or lessen Medicare related phone calls.
How to Stop Medicare Phone Calls
Add your telephone number to the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call List.
The phone number is 1-888-382-1222 and make sure to call from a phone you do not want to
add onto the list. Another alternative is to register your phone number online, as long as you have a email address available.
Be sure to register all of your phones: cell phone and/or land lines to lessen or cease the calls. If you find you’re still getting spam calls 31 days after you register with the Do Not Call list, you can file a complaint at this link. Another option if you have a smartphone, you can install a call blocker which many telecommunications companies provide at a nominal fee to no-cost. Using the call blocker allows a choice to have any phone number not in your contact list go directly to voicemail.
Does Medicare Call Your Home or Send Emails? Medicare does not call your home or phone directly. Yet, spammers who are claiming to be from Medicare will. If a caller is stating they are from "Medicare", "Medicare Answers Center", Senior "Medicare Advisors" or any version therefore, you can guarantee it is a spam call.
Medicare will reach out to you by US Postal Mail, however, they will not reach out to you directly by email. If you receive an email claiming to be from the "Medicare Department" "US Federal Medicare" or "Seniors Medicare Resolution Center" or any version therefore, it is highly likely to be a spam email.
Do not reply to any emails seeking personal information or forward your any of identification and be sure to report it as spam immediately.
You should never share your Medicare Identifier (Medicare ID Number) or Social Security number in any email communications.
If you get calls from someone claiming to be Medicare, record name and phone number of the caller, then contact Medicare directly at 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) to make a report.
Medicare Scam Calls
Scam callers purchase individual phones, phone number and even emails during hot button time periods like Medicare open enrollment periods and law changes to the program. These are occasions and time frames which can result increase spam opportunities to Medicare beneficiaries. Keep up-to-date on scams and spams targeting campaigns on the FTC website.
Scam calls can lead to massive hits for victims and can result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Although phone application and telecommunication companies can assist with identifying potential fake calls, you must stay alert to keep eyes and ears open to potential risks.
Does Medicare Call to Update Information?
Medicare will never call you to update your information or give you a new ID card over the phone. If you receive a call of this nature, it is a spam or phishing attempt to collect your information. Do not provide any personal information, record the callers name and phone number and report it to Medicare directly at 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227).
What Can a Scammer do With Your Medicare Number?
Remember, scammers are known to come up with many catch phases and statements to obtain your personal information, including your Medicare ID Number.
For instance, a scammer might say there is a balance on your Medicare card and request a credit card number. Or the scammer could say they want to refund money in your banking account and require your credit union or banking institution information to do so. Never forward this information over the phone to any caller claiming to be from "Medicare", as Medicare will never call you asking for bank information or credit card numbers.
Robocalls unfortunately are still used as a form of scamming Medicare beneficiaries and forward voice messages via pre-recorded calls. Telecommunication carriers can provide services that might alert you if a call is "Spam Likely". Nevertheless, there are a growing number of fraudulent robocalls making through the cracks. Contact your home or cell phone provider to investigate if they offer additional assistance blocking for these types of calls.
Telemarketing calls may claim that you’re losing your benefits to get your Social Security number or personal banking details.
If you receive a Robocall, never "Press 1", any other number or give a voice response. Instead, record the number the call was received from and disconnect from the call. Next, use either the blocking feature on your cell phone to block the receipt of continued calls from the number. As well, file a complaint with the FTC. If you respond in any fashion, spammers are made aware your phone number is active.
Immediately file a complaint with the FTC.
As well, remember not all robocalls are the same. For instance, doctors’ offices often use robocalls to remind you of a doctor’s appointment. Keep this in mind when listening to a robocall as not all Robocalls are scam but upwards of 50% can be. This is why reporting spam Robocalls to the FTC is critical.
Medicare Telemarketing Calls
When new to Medicare, you can and frequency will receive a large number of calls. Remember, you do not have to or should feel force to discuss Medicare options with anyone calling your phone.
There are legitimate Licensed Insurance Agents who might call you when you are new to Medicare, however, only proceed with the conversation if you are comfortable to do so.
When speaking to a Licensed Insurance Agent, the Agent should have a National Producer Number (NPN) along with their resident licensed state information and you can ask the Agent for this number to check the State and National databases online to determine if they are licensed.
Telemarketing calls are entry points to fraud and theft of your personal information. Scams with telemarketers can include the "promise" of winning all-expense-paid trips or demands of immediate payment for fake debts. As well, scam telemarketing calls often use a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) false phone number to disguise their true location and make it seem as if they are calling you from a local number.
What signs should you look out for to determine if the call is a telemarketing call?
Receiving calls from companies you have not expressly permitted to contact you.
A recorded message that encourages you to "Press 1" or another number to remove your phone number off the call list.
Any recorded message offers you gifts, trips, money or other other free services.
Any recording or call claiming you owe taxes. The Internal Revenue Service will not call you nor your State Tax Authority Department to collect payments owed.
Why is Medicare Calling Me?
Medicare is not calling you. If Medicare needs to reach you a letter will arrive in your mailbox detailing the information required, who to contact at Medicare and the Medicare National number, 800-Medicare (800-633-4227). If you receive a call claiming to be "From Medicare" it is highly like to be a scam or spam call.
How to Report a Medicare Call
Report any a fraudulent call from a caller claiming to work for Medicare by going to the FTC Complaint Assistant. Other ways to avoid Spam Medicare Calls
Often, when sign up for new websites, apps, or services, you have agreed inadvertently to the sharing of your personal information. Always read the small or fine print on the site to determine how they will use your information, such as your name, phone number and email. Never give your personal or credit card information over the phone when unsure who is the person on the other end of the line.
Review the privacy policies on a site before you share your personal information as some websites sell your email address and phone number to third parties. Be careful, be smart and always protect your personal information. Author: Monica Ross-Williams, MBA; LIA
Monica’s vision for Insurance Management Consulting includes building long-term trust with our clients.
With over 25 years of experience of exceeding expectations, Monica truly values the consultative approach for understanding Insurance.
Our business model core is summarized in the quote: “Do More Than Is Required of You” for each of our Clientele. Monica's E-Book, "Intro To Medicare 101 - The Ultimate Guide to Retiree Healthcare" will be available on Amazon.com in March 2022.
Connect with Monica on Medicare questions by contacting 866-630-6338 or 866-630-MEDU or book an appointment online to discuss today.