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.

MARCH  2018 Fraud Fact

February 2018 Fraud Fact

April 2018 Fraud Fact

Kennett O.A.K.S.

Serving Seniors Since 1973

(Older Adults Keep Serving)

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

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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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.