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Senior citizens warned about Medicare scams
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ATLANTA—Elder abuse is one of the most unrecognized and under-reported crimes.  In recognition of Elder Abuse Awareness Month, the Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services is alerting the aging community and Medicare recipients of potential elder abuse through Medicare scams.

Criminals may offer bogus products and services, pretend to be federal officials or insurance company representatives, or even set up fake health screening booths to steal Medicare numbers. Consumers should always check their Medicare Summary Notices to make certain that they or their doctors have authorized the charges shown. Common scams include:

Sales pitches for discounted prescription drugs that never arrive

Telemarketers selling unnecessary Medicare-covered products or services, such as “Medicare Arthritis Kits” which do not exist

Offers of help in applying for Medicare-issued checks to cover prescription costs, even though Medicare provides the checks automatically to eligible individuals who reach a gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage known as the “donut hole”

Free health screening booths at malls or other public places are usually safe, but scams do exist. Consumers should make sure that the screeners represent a legitimate organization such as a local hospital or public health center before they provide their Medicare numbers

Scam artists use Medicare and Social Security Numbers to submit fake bills or commit identity theft; and some may use banking information to charge consumers for products that are never delivered. A few criminals even empty their victims’ checking accounts.

If a consumer is unsure about someone requesting information or offering services related to Medicare, he or she should contact GeorgiaCares SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) at 1-800-669-8387. GeorgiaCares is a public-private partnership managed by the Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services in collaboration with Georgia’s Area Agencies on Aging. For more information, consumers may call the toll-free number shown or visit