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Phone Scam Alert for Medicare Part D
March 8, 2006

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has notified PCPA of a scheme to steal money and checking account information from Medicare beneficiaries under the guise of providing enrollment assistance for Medicare prescription drug plans. The “$299 Ring” named for the usual amount of money solicited from beneficiaries through the scam, persuades individuals to withdraw money to pay for enrollment in a fictitious prescription drug plan.

The Medicare Consumer Alert states that no Medicare drug plan can ask a beneficiary for bank account or other personal information over the telephone. Beneficiaries should contact their local police departments if they receive such calls. Beneficiaries can also report incidents to 877-7SAFERX (877-772-3379). Medicare reminds individuals that:

  • no one should go into anyone’s home without being invited,
  • no one should ask for personal information while conducting marketing activities,
  • all personal information, including the Medicare number, should be kept safe, and
  • whenever there is a question or concern about anything related to Medicare beneficiaries should call 800-MEDICARE.

Medicare drug plans will not solicit payment over the telephone or the Internet. They bill beneficiaries for applicable monthly premiums for the drug plans, usually as an automatic withdrawal from the individual’s Social Security check. Beneficiaries may also write checks or set up automatic payment systems from bank accounts; all more formal processes than over-the-phone or Internet solicitation.

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