Prescriptions can be expensive. Many people, especially seniors, have to have them refilled month after month, year after year. It’s not surprising that con artists play on people’s need to find discounted medicine.
Be aware that “free discount prescription cards” are being offered by unscrupulous individuals. The card is worthless. It’s a ploy to acquire your bank information.
Another approach to defraud is someone telling you must join the prescription drug plan or you lose your Medicare benefits. Don’t believe them. There is a list of Medicare-approved prescription drug plans. The list of approved plans and other information about the program are available at www.medicare.gov or by calling (800) 633-4227.
The July 2012 issue of Costco Connection says seniors may receive offers to buy medicine at 50 percent off or in bulk via mail, email or unsolicited phone calls. Some of these offers require a significant membership fee and/or they want the senior’s credit card number. You may never receive the drugs. If you do, you can’t be sure of the quality. That alone could be dangerous.
If the “plan” asks for your social security number before you actually enroll, consider that a huge red flag. Do not give your personal information out.
“Know the law on how Medicare prescription drug plans can be marketed,” says the National Consumers League’s Internet Fraud Watch. Companies cannot come to your door uninvited or send you unsolicited emails. They may call and promote their plan but not sign you up during those calls. Of course, if you are on the federal “do not call” registry, it’s illegal for them to call you.
If you think you are being approached by a fraudulent Medicare drug plan, call the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services, (800) 447-8477. You’ll be helping many unsuspecting people.