Friday, November 20, 2015
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In This Issue
Fraud in the News
The following are current news articles about health care and fraud issues.

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. 90MP0216) 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 features an SMP TV ad, a nationwide crackdown on abusive debt collection practices, and tips for dealing with debt collectors.


Have a great weekend!

As Seen on TV: National SMP Medicare Fraud TV Ad 

Have you seen the national Medicare fraud ad on TV? If you haven't, click here or on the video below to watch it online. If you have been targeted for health care fraud and live in Illinois, contact the Illinois SMP at AgeOptions (800)699-9043.

National SMP TV Ad
National SMP TV Ad "Cracking Down"

Illinois Attorney General Joins FTC in National Crackdown on Abusive Debt Collectors

On November 4, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other law enforcement entities in announcing a nationwide crackdown on deceptive and abusive debt collectors, including 30 new law enforcement actions. Madigan also announced a $6.4 million settlement against an Illinois couple who ran a "phantom debt" scheme. Phantom debts are phony debts that consumers do not actually owe. Read more about this crackdown and the Illinois case in the Attorney General's press release (click here). You can learn more about how the FTC is addressing abusive debt practice in this blog post (click here). 

If you are being contacted by debt collectors, you have rights. See the article below.
Debt Collection - Know Your Rights

If you are contacted by debt collectors, you have rights. The FTC outlines these rights on their Debt Collection webpage (click here). A legitimate debt collector must send you a written "validation notice" telling you how much money you owe, the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money, and how to proceed if you don't think you owe the money. You have the right to question or contest this debt or ask for verification. You still must pay any debts that you owe, but it is a good idea to verify these debts. Visit the FTC website for more information.

The FTC also has an article about warning signs of Fake Debt Collectors (click here). The warning signs include high pressure tactics to scare you into paying immediately and refusing to give you their name and address so that you can verify the debt. Read the full article for more information.

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