Friday, October 14 , 2016
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In This Issue
Fraud in the News
The following are current news articles about health care and fraud issues.

Consumer Fraud:

4. "The Golden Fleece" (AARP)

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 this week's Fraud Alert, we have a new SMP comic in Spanish and special article from Steve Baker on Jamaican Sweepstakes Scams.


Read more in this week's Fraud Alert!

New SMP Spanish Comic Tells a Common Fraud Story

Medicare can be confusing, but imagine if you could not speak or read English. How much more difficult would it be to spot fraud if you could not read or understand your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN)?

Every day in Illinois, scammers are targeting the Spanish speaking community in Illinois with Medicare fraud schemes, including trying to bill Medicare for home health care when an individual does not actually need those services. 

The Illinois SMP created a new Spanish comic "El Sr. Gomez Aprende Sobre el Fraude de Medicare" ("Mr. Gomez Learns About Medicare Fraud"). It follows Mr. Gomez as he signs up for free health services, attends an SMP presentation where he learns how he can get his MSN in Spanish, and calls the SMP hotline to report the fraudulent charges on his MSN. Share this comic with your Spanish speaking clients or friends.

Currently, this comic is only available in Spanish, but we will soon release an English translation. MSNs are available in English or Spanish, and you can request Spanish MSNs by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (press 2 for Spanish or say "EspaƱol Por Favor"). Report fraud in English or Spanish by calling the Illinois SMP at AgeOptions (800)699-9043 and ask for "SMP."

Cast of Characters in the new SMP comic
Cast of Illinois SMP's
"El Sr. Gomez Aprende Sobre el Fraude de Medicare"

Jamaica Sweepstakes Fraud Targets Older People: Behind the Scenes of a Scam

If you got a call saying that you have won a big prize or a huge cash payment, how would you react? If I got that call, I would be quitting my job and heading to the beach - no more Fraud Alerts from me!

In reality, if I never entered the sweepstakes or if they say I need to pay money to collect my winnings, it is a scam that is likely coming from someone in Jamaica.

Steve Baker is the recently retired Director of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)'s Midwest Region in Chicago. In his retirement, Steve continues to be a consumer advocate and is writing articles that primarily focus on scams targeting older adults. In his most recent article " Jamaica Sweepstakes Fraud Targets Older People," which he has shared with the Illinois SMP, Steve goes behind the scenes of the sweepstakes and lottery scams originating in Jamaica. 

Steve's article answers questions like: Why does this scam work? Why do people keep sending money? How do scammers know who to call? and What is law enforcement doing to fight this problem? He even explains how this fraud is hurting the people of Jamaica.

Just as SMP encourages beneficiaries to prevent health care fraud, prevention and sharing prevention tips are the keys to fighting back against consumer scams like this. One tip Steve gives that is a clear sign that something is a scam: "If they want money, they are crooks." If this happens to you, report it to the FTC at 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357).

AgeOptions Ideogram


Jason B. Echols, MSW,
Health Care Consumer Protection Coordinator
1048 Lake Street, Suite 300
Oak Park, IL 60301
phone (708)383-0258 fax (708)524-0870


AgeOptions, the Area Agency on Aging of Suburban Cook County, is committed to improving the quality of life and maintaining the dignity of older adults and those who care about them - through leadership and support, community partnerships, comprehensive services, accurate information and powerful advocacy.

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