How to Stop Medicare Scam Calls

Medicare scam calls are becoming more common, so it’s important to keep your guard up and be aware of these sneaky scams.

Key takeaways:

  • Scammers target personal information like your Medicare number or Social Security number. With this data, they file false claims, leaving you and Medicare paying for non-existent services.
  • The National Do Not Call Registry allows people to list their phone numbers and reduce unsolicited sales calls.
  • If you suspect a scam, Medicare suggests hanging up and contacting your provider using the number you have on file to address the problem directly with them.

Does Medicare Make Direct Calls?

Medicare doesn’t make direct calls unless you’ve reached out first.

There are only two scenarios where you might get a legit call:

  • #1
    • If you’ve called 1-800-MEDICARE and talked to someone, or you’ve left a message asking for a callback.
  • #2
    • Your Medicare health or drug plan might contact you if you’re already enrolled. 

Important: In both cases, the caller already has your details, so there’s no need to ask for your Medicare card number or Social Security information.

How Do I Stop Receiving Scam Calls?

Avoid unwanted calls by adding your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry. This registry is free to use and is managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Once you add your phone number to the registry, telemarketers must remove it from their databases within 31 days. Failure to do so may lead to a penalty of up to $50,000.

While this registry may not block every unwanted call, it can significantly reduce the number of calls you receive.

You can file a complaint with the FTC if you still receive calls. They will investigate and take legal action against telemarketers who break the Do Not Call Registry rules. The FTC provides a user-friendly interface where you can provide detailed information regarding the issue you wish to report.

Additionally, you can download call-blocking apps to your smartphone to help identify and block unwanted calls.

What Are Common Medicare Scam Calls?

Scammers often use deceitful tactics to trick people into thinking their calls are legitimate. They may have access to your personal information, such as your name, address, and date of birth, which they acquire from sold or leaked databases.

These scammers may even call from local and seemingly harmless phone numbers, making it easy to believe they are trustworthy.

Once you answer their call, they may offer amazing benefits only available for a limited time or tell you they need you to verify some information, such as your Medicare card number.

Here are some common scams to be aware of:

  • Medical Equipment:

    Beware of scammers promoting free medical supplies like diabetic meters, back braces, *COVID-19 tests, and test strips.

  • Refunds:

    Fraudsters claim you’re owed money from Medicare and need your bank account details to process the refund.

  • Cancellation:

    Someone might call claiming your Medicare benefits face cancellation, or your number is invalid, urging you to verify details to “re-activate” it. 

  • Medicare Card:

    After the 2018 Medicare ID card update, scammers started tricking people with fake promises of a new secure card with a supposed chip. Medicare’s way is always to send official notifications by mail for any changes.

  • Drug Discounts:

    Scammers pose as Medicare representatives or healthcare providers, offering a supposed discount card for savings on drugs, equipment, or services.

  • Becky:

    Millions receive calls from “Becky from Medicare,” a robotic voice offering a cancer screening test. The voice prompts them to check eligibility by phone to obtain their Medicare number.

*Note: Medicare does provide free COVID-19 testing under Part B benefits, but they do not initiate calls to offer them.

Medicare scammers also create fake websites resembling the Medicare website to obtain personal information. Always verify the website URL to ensure it is the official Medicare website.

What if I Think I’ve Been Scammed?

If you have given personal information or money to a suspected scammer, take immediate action:

  • Contact your bank and credit card companies to report the issue.
  • Cancel any potentially compromised accounts.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Inform the Medicare Fraud Office directly.

Bottom Line

There are several ways to identify a Medicare scam. If a caller appears suspicious or their offer sounds too good to be true, like providing free equipment, and they request personal details such as your Medicare number, date of birth, or Social Security number, chances are it’s a scam.

Another red flag is if the caller uses high-pressure tactics to get you to act quickly, demanding payment or credit card information.

If you’ve shared personal information or money with a potential scammer, take immediate action to protect yourself.

Sources: FTC | CNBC | NCOA


Mark Prip

Since 2003, Mark Prip has been leading  Policy Guide, Inc., providing knowledgeable information about Medicare, life insurance, and dental coverage to clients in over forty states. With his unparalleled hands-on experience aiding countless Medicare beneficiaries in selecting an appropriate health plan, he is a prime example amongst other competitors for expertise and assistance. Mark has held his Florida Health & Life Insurance License (E051889) since 2003. View his license profile on the Florida Department of Insurance website.