UNITED STATES—Hello Toni: Yesterday, a representative from Medicare called my mother asking all types of personal questions to provide her with testing supplies for COVID-19 and specialized masks which can protect her more than the ones bought at the store.  I just happened to be at her house and was able to take the call.

I told them that she did not give personal information over the phone I’m concerned this could be a scam, but then if it was Medicare, I’m concerned I could have made a mistake and she will not get the coronavirus help needed if she does get sick..

I’ve advised my mother not to answer the phone and to let voice mail screen calls. Can you please advise me what I should do or where I could call to see if Medicare is trying to contact my mother? Alice Dallas, TX.

Don’t Worry Alice:  You can relax because you were correct not to give your mother’s personal information over the phone because Medicare or Social Security does not randomly call your home or office and ask for your personal information. Medicare and Social Security already have the information they need regarding your mother’s Medicare account.

Baby Boomers and America’s Seniors’ need to be aware that Medicare or Social Security will never call you! This is the way that scammers get your personal information for fraudulent Medicare billing for services you never ordered only to line their pockets or commit or perform other fraudulent actions that can drain your credit.  Both Medicare and Social Security will send you a letter to let you know you need to contact them.

Reader Alert: Since I tuned 65 in May and have now joined Medicare, I have a mymedicare.gov account and was surprised to receive an email from Medicare.gov with a Medicare alert due to COVID-19 virus scams. Medicare is informing Medicare beneficiaries NOT to give out any personal information because Medicare DOES NOT call you regarding medical needs.  Medicare will not contact you to provide Coronavirus tests, masks, or other items in exchange for your Medicare or Social Security number. These items are provided by visiting a doctor’s office or receiving a prescription distributed by a pharmacy.

Below are a few tips to help protect you against Medicare or Social Security fraud:

  • Never give your Medicare or Social Security number to strangers, especially those who call you on the phone or come to your door. Just like you tell your grandkids not to talk to strangers, you need realize strangers are not always your new friends. Play the Stranger Danger game.
  • Do NOT accept “free” offers in exchange for your Medicare number. Remember, there is nothing “free.”  They will have Medicare pay for whatever they are offering, and they will use your Medicare number to get it paid for!!
  • Do not accept offers from door to door sales people. Watch out who you let in your house.
  • Never sign a blank form
  • Hang up when someone calls saying they represent Medicare or Social Security and asks for your Medicare or Social Security number! Remember Medicare and/or Social Security know your number already.

Medicare fraud is exploding and stealing “Baby Boomers and Seniors’ valuable Medicare dollars.”  The only way to stop it is to let your friends know what I have just told you.  We need to stand together and stop those who only want to make a “fast buck” from your personal information. Together, we can do that!

Toni King, author of the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced edition is giving a $5 discount to the Toni Says® readers on the Medicare Survival Guide® Advanced book at www.tonisays.com.