Scammers are targeting Medicare recipients during ‘open enrollment'

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Here are the tricks to watch out for

Medicare recipients are now in the midst of “open enrollment,” when they can make changes to their Medicare plans. In can sometimes be a confusing process and scammers are taking full advantage of it.

Fraudsters may have different tricks up their sleeves when they target seniors. Sometimes they are after money. Lately, they seem to be looking for enough personal information to steal a victim’s identity.

The New York StateWide Senior Action Council (StateWide) has warned seniors about a number of scams that have been identified so far. In one, the fraudster calls a victim, identifying themselves as a “Medicare representative” and offering assistance to change coverage.

In the process, they collect all kinds of sensitive personal information, including home address and Social Security number. Seniors should know that there are no “Medicare representatives” and even if there were, they wouldn’t cold-call Medicare recipients.

Scammers might tell you that you are required to join a Medicare prescription plan, also known as Part D. That’s not true – Part D is completely voluntary.

Scammers may also ask for personal information, such as your Medicare number, Social Security number, and/or bank information. They might even apply pressure to join their non-existent plan.

Medicare recipients who want to make changes to their coverage don’t have to be in a rush. The open enrollment period lasts until Dec. 7.

Where to find solid information

ConsumerAffairs has collected quite a bit of information about Medicare supplemental providers. You can find it here.

Our research team vetted 11 providers that are rated by more than 832 customers. By reading our guide you may find helpful insight into what different plans offer.

Medicare recipients who are satisfied with their plan do not have to make any changes during the open enrollment period. However, sometimes it might be beneficial to do so.

"Every year, plans change or end, the doctors no longer work with that insurance company, the lab only works with this plan, or maybe the plan no longer pays for your medication,” said Maria Alvarez, StateWide’s executive director. “It is important to take advantage of this time to make sure you have the right plan for you."

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