July 2018 Fraud Prevention Fact

Happy New Year from the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol). We want to make sure that your new year’s resolutions include taking full advantage of the preventive benefits provided to you by Medicare.
Medicare covers at least two dozen preventive benefit services, ranging from screenings for heart disease, cancer and diabetes, to shots for the flu, pneumonia or hepatitis. Your Medicare coverage includes a yearly wellness visit to the doctor as well.
Medicare wants to delay or lessen the effects of diseases by early detection and prevention. Some preventive services are provided to men only, and some to women only. Your medical history also might determine how and when Medicare covers a preventive service. Some services are covered once, some annually, and some every few years. If your provider accepts Medicare assignment, you pay nothing for most covered preventive services.
The best way to determine which services you may have covered is to visit your doctor and ask. There also is a very handy little booklet, called “Your Guide to Medicare Preventive Services,” that explains the services and provides a checklist. You may get the booklet at www.missourismp.org or medicare.gov. Or you can call us, and we will make sure you get one. As always, report suspected Medicare fraud or abuse to the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol at (888)515-6565. SMPs are funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, Administration on Aging.

Through Fraud Facts, the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) tries to keep you informed monthly of the latest scams that the bad guys have conceived most recently. The emphasis generally is on Medicare fraud. This month, we want to address the basics of the SMP mission. The SMP exists to empower and assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse. We accomplish our mission through outreach, counseling, and education.

We empower people to prevent Medicare fraud, errors and abuse by educating people insured through Medicare. We also work one-on-one with beneficiaries.

We engage volunteers who can show seniors how to protect their health, finances, and medical identity and to detect fraud, errors and abuse. At the same time, the Medicare saves precious dollars.

When Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers, and family members find problems, we encourage them to report these to the SMP. Then the SMP looks at whether fraud, errors, or abuse is suspected. When fraud or abuse is suspected, the SMP makes referrals to the appropriate state and federal agencies for further investigation.

In a complicated system, we are trying to provide you with the resources and knowledge you need to protect your Medicare benefits, detect errors, abuse and fraud, and then report them to the right people. If you suspect Medicare fraud, errors or abuse, call the hotline at 1-888-515-6565. If you want to become a volunteer team member, give us a call at the same number.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, 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.

MARCH  2018 Fraud Fact

June 2018 Fraud Prevention Fact

As we near the IRS tax filing deadline, the Missouri SMP wants to remind you of how to avoid the most common tax scams. Fraudsters use the Internal Revenue Service as a ploy to steal personal information or scam you out of money. Be on the lookout for these con games.
One con is called phishing, with a P. You need to be on the lookout for fake emails or websites trying to steal personal information. The IRS WILL NEVER initiate contact with you via email about a bill or refund. DO NOT open an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS. Just delete it, and block the sender if possible.
Also, phone calls from criminals impersonating IRS agents are a threat. Con artists might call you and threaten you with police arrest, deportation or license revocation. DO NOT send them money. Instead, report the call to local police.
You need to watch out for identity theft, especially around tax time. The IRS continues to go after criminals that file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number. Guard your Social Security number to avoid this scam.
Watch for unscrupulous tax return preparers. Most tax professionals are honest, but there are some dishonest preparers who set up shop to perpetrate refund fraud, identity theft and other scams. Make sure you know you are dealing with a reputable business. You also should be wary of anyone promising inflated tax refunds. DO NOT sign a blank return, or believe promises of a big refund if the preparer has not looked at your records.
As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri (SMP) Senior Medicare Patrol at (888) 515-6565.
This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MP0204, 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.

January 2018 Fraud Prevention Fact

February 2018 Fraud Fact

April 2018 Fraud Fact

This month, we are going to talk once again about the new Medicare cards to help you avoid becoming a target of fraud. Yes, starting in April, Medicare will begin mailing new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare. The new card is to help protect you from identity theft. Fraudsters are always looking for ways to get your Social Security number, so Medicare is removing Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards to make them safer. However, Medicare will NOT begin mailing the new cards in Missouri until AFTER JUNE. That means we still have to wait awhile. Your new card will have a new Medicare number that’s unique to you. The new card will help protect your identity and keep your personal information more secure. Your Medicare coverage and benefits stay the same. Medicare will automatically mail your new card – at no cost – to the address you have on file with Social Security. There’s nothing you need to do! If you need to update your official mailing address, contact Social Security either online or by phone. Beware of people contacting you about your new Medicare card and asking you for your Medicare number, personal information, or to pay a fee for your new card. NO ONE from Medicare is going to call you asking for that information.  You are going to start seeing and hearing public service announcements about the new cards. Just remember, in Missouri, we will not see any new cards until sometime AFTER JUNE.  For more information about your new Medicare card, visit go.medicare.gov/newcard.  As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri (SMP) Senior Medicare Patrol at (888) 515-6565. SMPs are funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, Administration on Aging. This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MP0204, 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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August 2018 Fraud Prevention Fact

Kennett O.A.K.S.

Serving Seniors Since 1973



Distribution of the new Medicare cards with unique numbers is starting. However, we probably will not receive any replacement cards in Missouri for several months. Federal officials are being a bit vague about exactly when the cards are coming because of the potential for scammers staking out mailboxes and stealing the cards. Missouri is in the last group of states in the schedule to receive the cards, so you need to be patient. It will be at least June and probably later. However, there are a couple of things you can do to get ready. One is to make sure that your address is up to date with the Social Security Administration so that you receive your card when it’s mailed. If you are an Internet user, you can establish an account on the My Medicare.gov website. If you set up that account, you can monitor the progress of the card distribution state by state. When it’s time for Missouri’s distribution, you can set your Medicare account to alert you when your card is actually mailed.
Here are a few things you do NOT want to do: Do NOT worry if a neighbor, relative or friend gets his card before you do. They are NOT being mailed according to ZIP codes etc. Do NOT give anyone your personal information over the phone. Medicare will NOT call you to request your Medicare number or any other information. Do NOT believe anybody who tells you that they can get your card faster if you pay them a fee. That is NOT going to happen and you will waste your money. Do NOT believe an insurance agent who tells you that she can get your card faster if you do business with her. That agent probably wants to get your ear to try to sell you an Advantage or Medicare supplement plan.
As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) at (888) 515-6565.
This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MP0204, 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.

It’s tax time, which of course brings out the scam artists. That means it’s time for a little primer from the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) to keep you from being a victim. Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and personal information to scammers.
First of all, if you are going to file a tax return, do so as soon as possible to keep an imposter from doing it using your information.
Fraudsters use the telephone, email and snail mail to scam individuals.
You need to remember that the IRS will not initiate contact with you by phone, email, text messages, Facebook or Twitter to request personal or financial information.
But, scammers claim to be IRS employees using fake names and badge ID numbers. They may change their caller ID’s so that it looks like the IRS is calling. These guys may know a lot about you. They probably found the information by Googling you. They tell you that you owe money that needs to be paid either by a gift card or wire transfer. DO NOT do it. They may threaten to have you arrested. They may tell you they are going to suspend your driver’s license. They can be hostile and insulting.
They may tell you that you have a refund coming, but ONLY if you provide your banking information for a direct transfer. They often tell you the matter is urgent. Some have even gone after deaf or hard of hearing people through video relay services.
DO NOT fall for it. The IRS does NOT demand immediate payment using a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. If you were to owe taxes, you would receive a bill in the mail.
The IRS will NOT threaten to have the police or sheriff’s office arrest you for nonpayment. The IRS will NOT demand payment without giving you a chance to question or appeal. And, they won’t ask for credit, debit or Social Security numbers over the phone. If you feel like you are a victim of a scam, report it to your police department.
As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri (SMP) Senior Medicare Patrol at (888) 515-6565. SMPs are funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, Administration on Aging.
This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MP0204, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201Type your paragraph here.

     This Fraud Fact from the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) addresses phone scams. Telephone scams are prevalent. We want to remind you of some tips to keep the phone from becoming a weapon that fraudsters use against you.
     The recent announcement that Medicare is changing your Medicare card number away from your Social Security number has prompted scams. The Medicare numbers are changing, and you will get a new card. However, Missouri’s beneficiaries will not see replacement cards for a long time – maybe as late as December. No one from Medicare will call and ask you for information regarding the number change. The only thing you need to do is to make sure the Social Security Administration has your correct mailing address. If someone calls you and says they are from Medicare and need information, hang up the phone.
     The same goes for someone who claims to be the IRS. Usually, the scammer tries to pressure you into sending money to the so-called IRS by threatening police to your house to arrest you. The IRS will not call or email you demanding that you send money. The IRS conducts business by mail.
    Also, be very wary of anyone asking for charitable donations or selling stuff over the phone. If you do not know the caller, then giving them your credit card number or bank information -- or any other personal information -- is just like handing it to a stranger. Don’t do it.  

    To help prevent any of these from happening to you, sign up for the No Call list at 1-866-662-2551. Another tactic is to let the phone ring when you do not recognize the number on caller ID. If it’s important, the caller will leave a message. No matter what, do not give your personal information to anyone who calls you unexpectedly. As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at (888) 515-6565.
      This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MPPG0040, 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.Type your paragraph here.

May 2018 Fraud Prevention Fact

(Older Adults Keep Serving)



As summer arrives, make sure you keep your health on track. The Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) wants you to know that Medicare has you covered for many preventive benefits.
Medicare covers these preventive benefits to help keep you healthy or to find illnesses soon after they develop. The sooner doctors diagnose a health condition, the easier and less expensive the ailment is to treat.
When you consider your preventive benefits, remember that your personal primary health care physician should guide your decisions about which tests and screenings you need. Medicare covers many screenings annually or every two years, but sometimes the coverage depends on your personal health history. Most all of these tests are covered without you having to pay coinsurance or meet a deductible. That means that you should incur no out-of-pocket costs most of the time. Again, check with your personal primary care physician.
Medicare may cover screenings for heart diseases, several types of cancer, depression, diabetes, hepatitis, HIV and osteoporosis – among others. If you need counseling to stop using tobacco or alcohol, Medicare may cover that service. Even flu and pneumonia vaccines are covered. A comprehensive list is available online at medicare.gov.
Ask your doctor about any out-of-pocket costs. Again, the source for these services should be your trusted physician or someone he refers you to – NOT someone who approaches you out of the blue and offers free services. As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at (888) 515-6565.
This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MP0204, 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.