January 27, 2020
The Social Security Administration
Warns of New Twist on Phone Scam
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is warning the public that telephone scammers are now sending fake documents via email to convince beneficiaries that they need to comply with the emails demand.

The SSA Office of Inspector General has stated that some people have " received emails with attached letters and reports that appeared to be from Social Security or Social Security OIG. The letters may use official letterhead and government “jargon” to convince victims they are legitimate; they may also contain misspellings and grammar mistakes."

These emails are not real. The Social Security will not email consumers with any forms. They also will not ask someone to pay a bill online and force legal action against them if they do not pay that bill. This also applies to Medicare beneficiaries because Medicare will never call or email any beneficiary to demand payment or legal action. You can read the press release from the Social Security Administration here.

If you or someone you know has been emailed and called on the telephone with either of these scams, please contact the Illinois SMP at (800)699-9043.
Northwest Indiana Physician and Family Member Indicted on over $1 million in Medicare Fraud Charges
As reported in the Post-Tribune, a Schererville, Indiana physician and some of his family members have been indicted on Medicare fraud charges. The physician was referring patients to three home health agencies that were owned by family members. They were all charged with submitting claims to Medicare in violation of the Stark Law.

Thomas Kirsch II, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana states, "The Stark Law ensures that the government will not pay for specific health services if the services were conducted by an institution that “had a financial relationship an immediate family member of the referring physician" because “such financial relationships can cause over utilization of those services and compromise the physician’s professional judgment.”

You can read the whole article from the Post- Tribune here.

If you or someone you know has been scammed by a home health company, please contact the Illinois SMP at (800)699-9043.
Have a great week!

Travis Trumitch
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This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0036, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.
The Illinois SMP at AgeOptions partners with agencies across the state to empower and assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse through outreach, counseling, and education.

Please share this Fraud Alert with colleagues, consumers, or other professionals in your area and visit our website to sign up for our Fraud Alert email list.