Friday, April 29, 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, 


This week's Fraud Alert asks these burning questions: Will I get a new Medicare number? Should I shred this old statement? If tax season is over, why is the IRS calling me? Spoiler Alert: The IRS is not calling you, but for more answers, read on!


Have a great weekend!

Am I Getting a New Medicare Number?

SMP has long encouraged people on Medicare never to give out their Medicare number to a stranger and not to carry their Medicare card in their wallet. Why? There are two reasons: 1.) This number is the key for health care scammers to fraudulently bill Medicare on your behalf, putting your benefits at risk. 2.) This number is a social security number (usually your own), which is the key for a scammer to steal your identity.

Last year, Congress addressed the second issue by passing a law that requires Medicare to create Medicare numbers so that they will no longer be the same as a social security number. This will not happen right away. Congress gave Medicare eight years to change the Medicare number for current Medicare beneficiaries.

Scammers are not waiting eight years. The Missouri SMP has received complaints that scammers are calling claiming to need more information in order to issue a new card. This is a scam. Medicare or the Social Security Administration are not calling you to gather personal information they already have. 

Thank you to the Missouri SMP for creating the following video to explain these types of scams (click here). If you live in Illinois, you can call the Illinois SMP at AgeOptions (800)-699-9043.
New Medicare Numbers - Don't Get Scammed
New Medicare Numbers - Don't Get Scammed

To Shred or Not to Shred?

One of our fraud prevention tips is to shred documents with personal information on them when they are no longer needed. We are often asked how long documents should be kept before you know you no longer need them. In his AARP Blog post, Sid Kirchheimer attempts to answer the question "What to Shred and When" (click here to read his full post).
Tax Day May Be Over, But the Scams Aren't

Last week was Tax Day, the final day that American taxpayers could file with the IRS without an extension. Many people are relieved for tax season to be over, but for scammers, tax scams are a year round business. As we reported in our last Fraud Alert, Illinois residents continue to get calls from scam artist pretending to call from the IRS. 

In another post to the AARP Blog titled "Tax Days Isn't Relax Day: New Post-Filing Ploys Emerge" (click here), Sid Kirchheimer explains current IRS-related scams. The biggest tip here is that the IRS first contacts people by mail. Also, the IRS will never call you to ask for information they should already have and never force you to pay immediately. Even though tax season is over, keep protecting yourself and loved ones from scams like this.

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