Friday, December 5, 2014
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In This Issue
Fraud in the News
Front Lines of Medicare Fraud
Holiday Shopping Tips
Debt Collection: What You Can Do
Fraud in the News
The following are current news articles about health care and fraud issues.


 Health Care Fraud:

2. "December 2, 2014 OIG Monthly Update Podcast" (HHS OIG)

3. "Settlement with the FTC and Florida Attorney General Stops Operations that Used Robocalls to Fraudulently Pitch Medical Alert Devices to Seniors" (FTC)

Consumer Fraud: 


4. "1 in 4 Didn't Notice ID Theft for at Least 2 Years. Would You?" (AARP)


5. "Prepaid Cards May Get Added Fraud Protections" (AARP)


6. "Debt Brokers Expose Sensitive Financial Info" (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 an article about federal agents fighting Medicare fraud, tips for holiday shopping, and what you can do about issues with debt collectors.


Have a great weekend!

Front Lines of Medicare Fraud


The AARP Bulletin recently featured a cover story on the federal government's efforts to fight Medicare fraud. Read the full "Fighting Medicare Fraud on the Front Lines" article (November 2014 issue) by clicking here.

The article focuses on federal agents fighting fraud in Florida as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Chicago, Illinois is one of the nine cities with a strike force team. To learn more about this partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), visit

You can help fight fraud by following the SMP message of Protect, Detect, and Report
  • Protect your Medicare number and never give it to strangers or over the phone. 
  • Detect fraud by reading your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN). 
  • Report fraud by calling the Illinois SMP at AgeOptions (800)699-9043.

To learn more, visit or call us at (800)699-9043.
Holiday Shopping Tips


The holiday shopping season has begun. While you're busy looking for the perfect gifts, a scam artist may be busy trying to steal your identity or credit cards.

During the holiday season and throughout the year, follow these tips to protect yourself:
  • Check your credit card statement routinely.
  • Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) emails and do not click on links in these spam emails.
  • Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Read about holiday scams and more tips to protect yourself in the following articles:
Debt Collection: What You Can Do


  1. Get more information if you don't recognize the debt
  2. Dispute the debt if it's not yours or if the amount is wrong
  3. Stop harassing and/or offensive calls
  4. Know your rights: Your federal benefits have many protections from garnishment in collection

Read more about each of these tips in the CFPB's blog entry "Four Things Older Americans Can Do About Debt Collection Problems," which includes links to the full report and other resources. The AARP article "Your Biggest Gripe: Debt Collectors!" summarizes the report.


It is important that you know your rights and question debts. Review your bank and credit card charges, bills, and your Medicare Summary Notice to ensure that what you are being billed is what you should owe. If it is not, take action to appropriately appeal these debts before they go into collections.


If you have a debt collection complaint, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at (855)411-2372 or file a complaint online at 

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