Friday, December 4, 2015
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In This Issue
Fraud in the News
The following are current news articles about health care and fraud issues.

Health Care Fraud:

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 a reminder about Medicare's open enrollment, a new FTC rule for telemarketers, and tips to avoid holiday scams.


Have a great weekend!

Medicare Open Enrollment Ends Monday, December 7 

December 7 is the end of Medicare's annual open enrollment period, which means that Monday is the last day for Medicare beneficiaries to review their coverage options, including Part D, for 2016. You can compare your current plan to other 2016 plans by visiting the Plan Finder at or calling
1-800-MEDICARE. The Illinois SMP has more information about open enrollment and insurance marketing scams in this article (click here). 
New FTC Rule: Telemarketers Cannot Ask You to Wire Money or Pay with Reloadable Cards

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently updated its Telemarketing Sales Rule to ban telemarketers from asking for certain types of payment, including cash-to-cash money transfers (i.e., wiring money) or reloadable cash cards.

What does this have to do with scams? Scammers love to ask you to send money right away, often by wiring it or using reloadable cash cards. Money transfers and reloadable cash cards are just like sending cash - once it is gone, you cannot trace it or get it back. If someone calls you asking for payment right away or in these forms, be wary. These are red flags for scams, and with this recent FTC rule change, legitimate telemarketers cannot ask to be paid this way. Read more about the Telemarketing Sales Rule changes here
Scammers Never Take a Holiday

Although the holiday season is a festive time for many people, for scammers, it is just another opportunity to take advantage of you. Whether it is a fake website selling a must-have gift or a fake charity targeting your generous spirit, the holiday season is a time to be wary. 

The following articles provide useful tips for avoiding common holiday scams:

Tis the Season of Scams (AARP) - From AARP's Fraud Watch Network, this site includes helpful tips and a video of how one holiday scam might work.

The FTC's Top 10 Holiday Shopping Tips (FTC) - This blog posts includes 10 tips for avoiding scams while also saving money during holiday shopping.

American Consumers at Risk of Being Scammed During the Holidays (AARP) - This page has highlights from a new AARP study of American consumers' holiday shopping habits. 

The AARP study found that "most (70%) U.S. holiday shoppers failed a short quiz on how to stay safe from holiday scams, by answering four or fewer of seven questions correctly." The age of the people surveyed for this study was 18 and older, so it is important to remember that scammers target people of all ages.

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