In anti-fraud effort, feds to probe how telemarketers get hands on seniors’ Medicare info
This article is a summary of a recent CBS News post.
The best thing to do when your phone rings from a “Medicare” telemarketer or one who claims to be a “Medicare specialist” is to treat it like a rattling rattlesnake. Yep, stay away from it and don’t get bitten.
Background: Insurance companies, pharmacies, and other interested parties can electronically access Medicare and Medicare’s records of any Medicare beneficiary. This can be done for legitimate purposes. For example, there might be some confusion on a claim of your date of birth or your Medicare number. However, there is also a nefarious use of this database.
The watchdog agency’s decision comes amid a wave of relentlessly efficient telemarketing scams targeting Medicare recipients and involving everything from back braces to DNA cheek swabs.
So how are these telemarketers getting access to your personal information? Answer: It’s from some entity that is accessing Medicare’s database for an illicit purpose.
Key personal details gleaned from Medicare’s files can then be cross-referenced with databases of individual phone numbers, allowing marketers to home in with their calls.
Put another way, a pharmacy may be accessing Medicare’s database when they have no business doing such.
But investigators found that some pharmacies submitted tens of thousands of queries that couldn’t be matched to prescriptions. In one case, a pharmacy submitted 181,963 such queries but only 41 could be linked to prescriptions.
In one report, 98% of the queries from a group of 25 pharmacies “were not associated with a prescription.” This also puts an individual’s privacy at risk.
Inappropriate use of Medicare’s eligibility system is probably just one of many little-known paths through which telemarketers can get sensitive personal information about beneficiaries, investigators said.
If a telemarketer contacts with seeming private information that he/she should not have had access to, do not let yourself be mesmerized by such. Know that your information was illegitimately obtained. Do not engage these people
Hang up immediately! Do not allow them to set their hook into you.
Sadly, the fraudsters are taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation. Hang up on any telemarketing schemes dealing with the virus or government paychecks. Likewise, delete any emails attempting to click-bait you into to clicking on something. Those are to be treated as venomous snakes, as that’s what they are. Stay clear and social-distance yourself from them.