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Take the following steps to avoid scams

Thursday, July 1, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS -- Hoosiers across Indiana who have been duped into revealing their Social Security numbers, Medicare numbers and other personal data in recent scams are urged to act now, says the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging (IAAAA).

Tamra Simpson, program director for Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), said victims should take the following steps:

* Contact IAAAA's SMP program at 317-205-9201. IAAA can report information to Medicare to flag the victim's Medicare account,

* Contact your doctor's office and tell them not to approve any requests for prescriptions for durable medical equipment,

* Review new Medicare Summary Notices and report any fraudulent activity to Medicare. Consumers can access a guide to reviewing their Medicare Summary Notices at http://www.iaaaa.org/MSN_Guide_2007-8-01..., or by calling their local area agency on aging on 1-800-986-3505,

* Access the ID Theft Victim's Kit available from the Indiana Attorney General office at http://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2409.h... or by calling 1-800-382-5516 and follow the kit's instructions, and

* For victims who shared their Social Security number, call 1-800-269-0271 between 10 a.m.-4 p.m., EST or log on to http://sssa.gov and select "Report Fraud, Waste or Abuse," from the left sidebar.

By following all of the steps listed above, victims may be able to prevent any additional fraudulent use of their information. They can also help protect other Medicare patients by making the following complaints:

* Contact the Indiana Attorney General's office at 1-800-232-6330 or file an online consumer complaint form at http://www.in.gov/2434.htm,

* Contact the Federal Trade Commission. According to the FTC, contacting Hoosiers who are registered with the National Do Not Call Registry is a direct violation, and the FTC will follow up with all complaints logged. To file a consumer complaint, victims should call 1-877-382-4357, or

* For comprehensive information about Medicare fraud and new scams, visit www.iaaaa.org.

The most recent scam: Scammers have been telephoning beneficiaries from out-of-state phone numbers claiming to be from Medicare or what sounds like "Med-care." Complaints of similar calls have been reported from every area code in Indiana.

The callers initially seem legitimate because they already know the beneficiary's name, doctor and medical condition. Reports say each caller has a foreign accent and offers diabetic testing supplies, heating pads, back braces and free blood pressure testing supplies.

The caller asks if the beneficiary has "the red, white and blue card," then for the Medicare number on the card and the maiden name of the patient's parent. In some instances, the caller also solicits the patient's date of birth.

The Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging, founded in 1978, advocates for quality programs and services for older adults and all persons with disabilities. The IAAAA works with all the state's 16 area agencies on aging. The Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) were created by state statute in 1973 to deliver services under the Older Americans Act. AAA's are not-for-profit entities providing services to older adults and people with disabilities of any age and their caregivers.

The SMP programs, recruit and teach senior volunteers and professionals, such as doctors, nurses, accountants, investigators, law enforcement personnel, attorneys, teachers and others to help Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries become better health care consumers.



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