Fraud Protection: Debt Collection

BOSTON (CBS) – Debt collection complaints are about 1/3 of the complaints filed with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).

The scammers may call about an overdue medical bill, asking for bank account information so they can process the payment. Sometimes even threatening legal action. Best advice, hang up. If you have an overdue bill you will first get a notice in the mail.

Seniors are often fooled by Caller ID. Caller ID can be set up to display whatever name or phone number the scammers choose so it appears that the caller is from the hospital calling about a current bill.

Next, beware of someone calling and promising free medical supplies such as diabetes testing equipment. Of course they tell you it’s free, but you will still need to pay for the shipping and handling. They ask for your credit card number including the key numbers on the back of your card. They now have enough of your personal information to go on a shopping spree.

There have been reports of pop-up storefronts and traveling clinics which offer free health checkups that require you to give them your Medicare number and other personal information.

Carefully review your Medicare Summary Notice that comes in the mail quarterly. Here it will list such things as your office visits, colonoscopy or knee replacement.

If you did not have a colonoscopy or a knee replacement contact Medicare. It may be a simple mistake or someone is using your Medicare number to have medical procedures performed or a provider is filing fraudulent claims for procedures never performed. You can call 800-Medicare to report fraud or get online at mymedicare.gov.

More fraud occurs when someone wants to offer you a kickback for providing your Medicare number or asking you to file a fraudulent claim so they can claim the procedure was done. This is fraud and now you are no longer the victim but a willing participant. You could be facing criminal charges.

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud please take the time to file a complaint with FTC:  https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1 or Call 1-877-FTC-HELP

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You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m. and 3:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.

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