Seniors Beware: Scammers to take advantage of Medicare enrollmen - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Seniors Beware: Scammers to take advantage of Medicare enrollment

Seniors need to be cautious not to give out personal information to scammers during open enrollment. Seniors need to be cautious not to give out personal information to scammers during open enrollment.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

The open enrollment period for Medicare continues until Dec. 7, however, seniors should be on the lookout for scammers.

According to the Better Business Bureau, scammers might try to contact people who may not understand the enrollment process.

"With the open enrollment period opening right now, there's a lot of advertisements for it so scammers pick up on this and they're going to reach out to seniors who they think they can confuse and trick into giving them some information they don't want to give out," Joey Keys said, the Cape Girardeau Regional Director.

Keys recommends you don't your personal information to anyone suspicious.

"One they have your social security number there's a lot of steps you're going to have to take to protect yourself and try to get your name and everything back to where it was," Keys said.

The BBB offers these steps to avoid fraud:

  • Verify that a salesperson is a licensed insurance agent. Missouri residents may call the state's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390. The hotline number in Illinois is (866) 445-5364.
  • Be wary of door-to-door salespeople. Medicare has no sales representatives, and agents cannot solicit Medicare plans at your home without an appointment.
  • Avoid sales people who offer free lunches for listening to a sales presentation. Federal law prohibits offers of free meals in exchange for signing up for a plan or listening to a presentation on Medicare.
  • Do not give personal information to an unlicensed agent. Salespeople are not allowed to ask for a Social Security, bank account or credit card number during marketing activities. When you do enroll, you may need to provide such information, but make sure the salesperson is legitimate by calling the numbers above.
  • Insurance salespeople cannot ask for online payments: They must send a bill. Once you decide to buy a plan and have verified the agent is licensed, then you may give the agent personal information for enrollment and billing.

Both Missouri and Illinois offer help for seniors enrolling in Medicare plans during open enrollment.

Seniors in Missouri can contact the CLAIM program online here, or by calling (800) 252-8966.

Illinois seniors can contact the Illinois Department of Aging's Senior Health Insurance Program by calling (800) 252-8966 or sending an email to AGING.SHIP@illinois.gov.

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly