Friday, April 1, 2016
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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 project was supported, in part by grant number 90MP0216, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy. 

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Dear SMP Readers, 


EXTRA! EXTRA! Ripped from the SMP phone lines. In this week's Fraud Alert, we highlight three true stories that happened in Illinois and were reported to SMP.


No fooling. Happy April Fool's Day!

Bad Advice

We recently heard from a social service provider in the Chicago area that one of their clients was approached by a home health company. The company offered to visit this man several times a week and provide free services. When the company realized that the man was on Medicare only, they told him that if he were on Medicaid, they could visit him every day. The company advised the man to transfer his assets to other people in order to qualify for Medicaid.

Medicaid is a health insurance for people with a low income, and if you have Medicare, the two insurances work together. In order to qualify for Medicaid, you must meet certain asset and income limits. This home health company was giving some very bad advice because you cannot just give away assets to qualify for Medicaid. However, you can talk to trained professionals at your local senior service agencies that can help you see if you might qualify for Medicaid or other benefits. Call your local Area Agency on Aging for more information (

In addition to giving bad advice about Medicaid, this is an example of potential health care fraud because the company's services would be medically unnecessary and they would likely bill Medicare for something other than what they actually provided. Report potential health care fraud to SMP at AgeOptions (800)699-9043.
Someone's There, Knocking at Your Door

In a recent call to the SMP, a person in Illinois received a call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. The caller said that social security had a new program to help pay utility bills and that they would send an agent to collect more information. The next day, a man claiming to be from social security came to this individual's house and asked for their social security number. This supposed agent had an official looking name tag, but luckily, the individual was suspicious and just said, "No thank you, we do not need any more help."

This story has a few red flags: the government does not call offering benefits; there is not a utility assistance benefit from social security; and the Social Security Administration certainly has your social security number already and does not need to collect it from you. These types of scams involving someone impersonating the government are a huge scam trend. In fact, this week the Social Security Administration put out a fraud alert about a similar scam (click here). 

Never give your social security number or Medicare number to a stranger over the phone or at your door. If you believe social security is actually trying to call you, verify by calling your local office or the Social Security Administration's toll free number (800)772-1213.
Doing Your Duty

AgeOptions received a report of several occurrences of the jury scam in the Springfield area. Here is how it works: you get a call from someone pretending to be the local police saying that you have missed jury duty and need to pay fines or face arrest. They may also say they need to verify your record and ask for your social security number. The truth is that you never had jury duty, and these are scammers who are trying to get your money or your personal information. Do not fall for it. Call your local police and report these calls.

Here are a few articles with tips about the jury scam:

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