Friday, November 21, 2014
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In This Issue
Fraud in the News
Who Is That Calling?
SMP Partner Interviewed on Conversations in Care Web Show
Home for the Holidays? Talk to Family and Friends About Fraud
Fraud in the News
The following are current news articles about health care and fraud issues.


 Health Care Fraud:


Consumer Fraud: 


3. "FTC, Illinois, and Ohio Stop Scheme That Offered 'Free' Credit Scores, Then Charged Consumers for Credit Monitoring Programs They Never Ordered" (FTC) 


Please share this Fraud Alert with colleagues, consumers, or other professionals in your area. If you have any questions about the Illinois SMP program, or to receive these Fraud Alerts directly, please contact Jason Echols, Healthcare Consumer Protection Coordinator at AgeOptions.


This document was supported in part by a grant (No. 90MP0163 & 90SP0061) from the Administration on Aging (AoA), Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Grantees carrying out projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Therefore, points of view or opinions do not necessarily represent official AoA, ACL, or DHHS policy. 


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Dear SMP Readers, 


This week's Fraud Alert contains tips for how to check that the person calling you is who they say they are, a video interview with SMP partner Cheryl Lockwood, and ideas for sharing fraud information over the holidays.


Have a great weekend!

Who Is That Calling?


A caller to the SMP hotline was getting calls from someone who said they were a care coordinator with their managed care plan. We were asked how can someone know if this is a legitimate call.

People should be cautious of calls from strangers, but not so cautious that they pass up on important benefits. In this example, calling the plan is the easiest way to confirm if this is legitimate.

If a call seems suspicious to you, confirm who is calling you by following these tips:
  • Ask for the caller's name, the name of the company they represent, and a number to reach them at later. 
  • Then, hang up and call the company they claim to be from with a number you already have or can easily confirm. For example, if you belong to a managed care plan, you should have enrollment information or statements from that plan. Look on those documents for contact information. 
  • If you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or other government agency, this is a red flag for a scam. You can find federal, state, and local government numbers at
  • If your health care plan, bank, or the IRS really needed to call you, would they need any sensitive personal information like your social security number, Medicare number, or bank account? No. They already have that information and would not ask for it. Never give this information to a stranger.
  • Do not trust your caller ID. It is very easy for a scammer to "spoof" your caller ID and make it seem as if they are calling from a company or government agency. Never let that be your only way of verifying the identity of a caller.

Do not be afraid to ask these questions. Most companies would understand your concern and be happy to comply as you check that they are who they say they are. For more information, visit the FTC Phone Scams page.

SMP Partner Interviewed on Conversations in Care Web Show


Cheryl Lockwood, the SMP coordinator at the Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging, recently appeared on the weekly web show Conversations in Care ( In the interview, Cheryl talked about health care fraud and what people can do to prevent, detect, and report fraud. 

Click the video link below to see the full interview. 
Conversations in Senior Care with Cheryl Lockwood - 8AM CDT 10/31/2014
Conversations in Senior Care with Cheryl Lockwood - 8AM CDT 10/31/2014

Home for the Holidays? Talk to Family and Friends About Fraud


This week AgeOptions released its annual Home for the Holidays press release, which encourages families, caregivers, and friends to check in with older loved ones during this holiday season. Here are few topics you may want to talk about:
  • Medicare Open Enrollment ends December 7. This is a time for people on Medicare to review and choose their 2015 Part D or Medicare Advantage coverage. Read more in this SMP article
  • Is your loved one checking their Medicare Summary Notices (MSNs)? Share our SMP How to Read an MSN handout
  • Share the stories in this or past Fraud Alerts. You can watch the video together or talk about how to verify phone calls. Past Fraud Alerts can be found on our website.
  • If your loved one needs further services, you can find local senior service agencies at
Have a happy and safe holiday season!

AgeOptions Ideogram


Jason B. Echols, MSW,
Health Care Consumer Protection Coordinator
1048 Lake Street, Suite 300
Oak Park, IL 60301
phone (708)383-0258 fax (708)524-0870


AgeOptions, the Area Agency on Aging of Suburban Cook County, is committed to improving the quality of life and maintaining the dignity of older adults and those who care about them - through leadership and support, community partnerships, comprehensive services, accurate information and powerful advocacy.

Fraud Alerts contain information about current scams taking place in Illinois, announcements and updates about programs or services related to health care and/or fraud protection, and links to news articles about health care and fraud topics. Please forward any recommendations or announcements that you would like to be included in a future Fraud Alert to