Friday, January 22, 2016
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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, 


In this week's Fraud Alert, we have resources for Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, fake social security emails, and tips for how to stop harassing debt collection calls.


Have a great weekend!

Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week is January 25-29

Tax season has just begun, but scammers work year-round to steal your identity. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is focusing on tax-related scams with its Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week (January 25-29). 

Visit to read more about the events and outreach that the FTC is planning (note that times are listed for Eastern Standard Time). For example, on Monday, January 25 at 1 pm CST (2 pm EST), the FTC and AARP are hosting a "Webinar for Consumers on Tax Identity Theft

For more information, read the FTC article on how to spot Tax-Related Identity Theft and visit

Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week Logo
Can You Spot the Fake Social Security Email?

According to the FTC, scammers are trying to collect people's personal information with fake emails that look like they are coming from the Social Security Administration. They are not from Social Security, and in the FTC blog post "Scammers Fake Social Security Email," you can see one of these fake emails and learn how to spot this and other "phishing" emails. If you get an email like this, do not click on any links. Instead, follow the tips in the blog post about reporting it to the FTC.

Debt Collection Calls - How to Stop Them

Debt collection calls can be very stressful, especially if you do not actually owe a debt! The FTC recently announced action it has taken against four debt collection agencies that broke the law. This enforcement action is part of an effort called Operation Collection Protection aimed at cracking down on illegal debt collection practices. Read more in this blog post "Four Dishonest Debt Collectors Down..."  

You can also watch a video of one veteran's story about how he got assistance in fighting back against harassing debt collection calls.

If you are receiving debt collection calls, you have rights. If you actually owe money on a debt, you will have to pay it, but you can stop harassing phone calls. Read more in the FTC blog post "How to Stop Calls from Debt Collectors."

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