If you have diabetes and get a phone call from somebody offering you free diabetes supplies, hang up. You’re being scammed.
That’s the advice the federal government is giving in a fraud alert it has just made about such calls at http://oig.hhs.gov/newsroom/news-releases/2012/alert20120309.asp.
Scammers often pose as federal employees or workers representing legitimate diabetes associations. They’re looking for Medicare and Social Security numbers, as well as other financial information, that they can use fraudulently on their own behalf or sell to criminal syndicates.
Fraudsters that actually do send diabetes supplies send supplies that are inferior in quality, and then turn around and fraudulently bill Medicare for the order. “Free” supplies offered include glucose meters, diabetic test strips, and lancets, as well as such items as heating pads, lift seats, foot aids, or braces.
The government’s advice says:
- Do not provide your Medicare number or other personal information.
- Be suspicious of anyone who offers free items or services and then asks for your Medicare or financial information. These calls are not coming from Medicare, diabetes associations, or other similar organizations. While the caller says the items are “free,” the items are still billed to Medicare.
- Once your Medicare information is in the hands of a dishonest person or supplier, you are susceptible to further scams.
- Alert others about this scheme, and remind them not to provide strangers Medicare numbers or other personal information.
If you get a call from someone you suspect is a scammer, call the government’s fraud hotline at 1-800-HHS-TIPS or file a report online at http://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/report-fraud/index.asp.