Friday, June 10, 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 has two stories with tips to avoid phone scams. Hang up the phone and enjoy the Fraud Alert!


Have a great weekend!

Reference Check Gets Personal

A woman in the Chicagoland area received a call from someone saying that her name was listed as a reference for someone else's student loan. The caller asked the woman for her Social Security number. The woman did not know any current students, and the company representative was not providing any information about the alleged loan recipient. Instead of giving out her Social Security number, she hung up the phone and called AgeOptions. 

Never give personal information to someone who cold calls you. Always verify who is calling you by asking:
  • Who is calling?
    (Company name and representative name)
  • What are they calling about?
    (In this case, who is the reference check for?)
  • How can you call them back?
    (Get this information, hang up, contact the person who supposedly listed you as a reference, and if they truly did want you as a reference, call the company back.)
If this were a legitimate reference check, the company would be happy to provide you with their name and the name of the person who listed you as a reference. More importantly, they would not need your social security number. 

PS - If you do know a student, share this FTC blog post "Federal Student Tax? No Such Thing" with them. Remember that fraud can target anyone at any age.
When You Can't Trust Caller ID

The word "spoof" might make you think of movie parodies like Airplane! that poke fun at a genre. In a movie, it is easy to see that they are just exaggerating to make fun of something, but for a scammer, a "spoof" is not so funny and not so easy to spot. "Spoofing" is the word for using technology to make a caller ID display someone else's name. It is very easy to do too. If you see a name on your caller ID, do not just believe that it is accurate. You can read more about spoofing in the FTC blog post "Scammers Can Fake Caller ID Info."

Do not use your caller ID as the only way you verify who is calling you. See the article above for some questions you can ask a caller before you give away any personal information or before send any money. Hang up the phone and watch a funny movie instead. 

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