WASHINGTON – The Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers are targeting Medicare recipients with a scheme to get free or low-cost back or knee braces.
The FTC says they're calling, running television ads and mailing letters to get people to give their Medicare information, so they can fraudulently bill Medicare for braces or other equipment. This uses up medical benefits, which means there may not be money left for Medicare patients to get a brace later, if their doctor prescribes one.
Medicare recipients can avoid these type of scams by following these guidelines:
- Hang up if someone calls and claims to be from Medicare offering free or low-cost braces. No one from Medicare will ever call with such an offer. So, know it's a scam.
- Never give your Medicare or other personal information over the phone to anyone who calls asking for it.
- Any Medicare patient who needs a brace or another type of medical equipment or prescription should talk to their doctor. Sellers on the phone don't know what you need if anything at all.
- Don't accept medical equipment in the mail unless you or your doctor ordered it. You don't have to pay for anything you didn't order.
- If you suspect someone is using your Medicare or information, check your Medicare Summary Notice to be sure you and Medicare are only being charged for services you received.
- Find out more about Medicare fraud on its website or by calling 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227).
- Read the FTC's article on medical identity theft.
- If you've seen or heard about someone becoming a victim of this scam or others, report it to the FTC website or by calling 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)