Friday, March 17 , 2017
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In This Issue
 
Fraud in the News
The following are current news articles about health care and fraud issues.

Health Care Fraud:

1. " Eye on Oversight: Medical Identity Theft" (HHS OIG YouTube Channel)

Consumer Fraud:

Please share this Fraud Alert with colleagues, consumers, or other professionals in your area. If you have any questions about the Illinois SMP program, or to receive these Fraud Alerts directly, please contact Jason Echols, Healthcare Consumer Protection Coordinator at AgeOptions.
 
This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MP0216, 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. 
  

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Dear SMP Readers, 

 

In honor of Saint Patrick's Day, this week's Fraud Alert is all about luck. Luck will not stop frauds or scams, but the following tips just might. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 
Don't Press Your Luck with Health Care Fraud
   
Are you a lucky person? Maybe good things just seem to happen to you. No matter how lucky you are, if you have Medicare, fraudsters will target you and no amount of luck will help you from being taken by a scammer.
 
What can help is knowing how to prevent, detect and report health care fraud:
  1. You can Prevent health care fraud by never giving your Medicare number or insurance information to strangers who call on the phone. Remember that the government will never call you for this information. Also, remember that any medical services, drugs, equipment or supplies should be prescribed by your doctor. If someone calls offering any of these medical services, they are not your doctor. Hang up on these callers. Read more in our DME tip sheet.
  2. Detect Medicare fraud by reading your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) or your insurance's explanation of benefits. These statements show everything billed to your insurance, so look for signs of fraud: billing for something you never received, billing for something different than what you received, or billing for something you did not medically need. Our How to Read an MSN tip sheet shows how you can review these statements.
  3. Finally, Report fraud. In Illinois, you can call the Illinois SMP at AgeOptions (800)699-9043. We can help you report health care fraud or direct you to the appropriate service for your concerns.
Luck will never stop health care scams, but being prepared to prevent, detect and report will help you in the fight against fraud.
 
Share this information with friends and loved ones. They'll be lucky to have a friend who cares. 
 
No Luck with Lottery Scams
   
When state lottery jackpots reach several million dollars, many of us may buy a lottery ticket hoping to get lucky and dreaming of what we would do with all that money. But what happens when you get a call, letter or email saying you won a lottery (maybe from another country) that you do not even remember entering. Could you really be that lucky?
 
Unfortunately, no. This is how a foreign lottery scam starts. As the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) points out, scammers will ask you to send money to cover taxes, duties or other fees. The truth is that if you actually win a prize, you will not be asked to pay for it. That is a sure sign of a scam.
 
One man thought that he won a lottery and that this would help him bring his wife home from a nursing home. Instead, the money he spent on this lottery scam ended up costing him his house. See more of his story in the video below.
 
Luck can only take you so far, but with a foreign lottery, there is no luck and there are no winners. Read more about this scam on this USPIS article and report scams like this.

USPIS Foreign Lottery Scam Video
USPIS Foreign Lottery Scam Video

Fraud Alerts contain information about current scams taking place in Illinois, announcements and updates about programs or services related to health care and/or fraud protection, and links to news articles about health care and fraud topics. Please forward any recommendations or announcements that you would like to be included in a future Fraud Alert to jason.echols@ageoptions.org.