AARP SCAM ALERT: Medicare Open Enrollment Scam

Medicare Open Enrollment season is here, which means it is also Medicare fraud season. Between now and December 7th seniors across the country will be shopping for the best deal for their health care dollar. Unfortunately some of the deals they will be offered won’t be deals at all.

Medicare scams are expected to spike during open enrollment season with scammers posing as impostors calling and emailing seniors offering free gifts or limited time offers. These scams are all designed to capture your Medicare number so the crooks can charge Medicare for services you didn’t receive.

Be suspicious of anyone who calls, emails or visits you promoting a Medicare plan. Legitimate health plans can only contact you if you’ve requested information. Don’t give personal information to anyone who calls or visits out of the blue and always review your Medicare statement to ensure fraudulent charges aren’t included.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork  or call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 1-877-908-3360 to report

AARP SCAM ALERT: National Cyber Security Month

October is National Cyber Security Month and there are three keys to staying safe online: Own it, Secure it, and Protect it. The “it” is your digital profile – the personal things about yourself that you put online. Living in the digital age means putting a lot of personal information online like your home address, where you work, family members, and much more. Keeping that information safe requires a bit of work. First, you need to own it by understanding what you’re putting out there (such as what you’re posting on social media). Next, you have to secure it with strong passwords or using a password manager and enabling two-step authentication where available. Lastly, you need to protect it by staying current with the latest security updates on your devices and using Public Wi-Fi safely. Learn more at staysafeonline.org.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 1-877-908-3360 to report a scam or get help if you’ve fallen victim.

AARP SCAM ALERT: Gift Cards and Fraud

You see them in just about every store you shop in, colorful kiosks filled with gift cards. Gift cards for everything from coffee to movies to video games. What you don’t realize is those colorful cards can also be the currency of fraud.

Gift cards are one of the top ways today’s scammers steal money from their victims. They convince their targets to purchase gift cards and share the numbers and security codes. Once shared, the scammer drains the value of the card and disappears. Keep this in mind: if someone asks you to pay for something by gift card, it’s a scam.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam and remember, only scammers ask you to pay with gift cards.

Report scams to local law enforcement. For help from AARP, call 1-877-908-3360 or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

AARP SCAM ALERT: Beware of identity compromise

If you do business with a national retailer or bank, chances are you’ve had your identity compromised at one time or another. These large scale cyber attacks have unfortunately become commonplace, but it’s important to know that criminals are trying just as hard to hack you as they are big corporations. Personal cyber attacks can come in the form of malicious attachments that steal personal information from your computer. They can also come in the form of email attacks, called phishing, appearing to come from a trusted source and asking you to confirm a password or verify personal information.

Be careful online and check your emails for common warning signs like misspellings, generic greetings, free offers or urgent requests for action. Never click on suspicious links and always look up call back numbers rather than relying on those listed in the message.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 1-877-908-3360 to report a scam or get help if you’ve fallen victim.

It’s Time to #StopRxGreed: AARP on the front lines fighting soaring prescription drug prices

Americans pay the highest drug prices in the world and, over the last ten years, prices have continued to skyrocket.

In Maine, 62 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have one or more chronic diseases, many of which require patients to take multiple medications. In some cases, prescription drugs represent the only defense Mainers have against debilitating pain and their fight against life-threatening conditions like heart disease and cancer. In 2017, retail prices of some of the most popular medications older Americans take to treat everything from diabetes to high blood pressure increased by an average of 8.4 percent. That is four times the rate of inflation.

No one should have to choose between food and medicine, but some Mainers are doing just that.

The truth is that drug companies make a fortune in profits from older adults and hardworking Americans. The tens of billions of dollars drug companies spend on advertising each year is shameful, and results in drugs being more expensive. Drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them. That’s why AARP launched a national campaign this year urging federal and state policymakers to Stop Rx Greed by cracking down on price-gouging drug companies.

During the legislative session, AARP Maine worked with state lawmakers to pass a package of bills that will lower prices and improve accessibility to medications which thousands of Mainers need to stay healthy. Maine’s legislators clearly recognized that prescription drug price gouging is not a Democratic or a Republican problem. This issue is about fighting for people’s lives, and putting people before profits.

Maine is once again leading the way, but now we need Congress to follow that lead. We urge Senators Collins and King to work with their colleagues to pass bipartisan legislation to lower prescription medication prices across the country.

The pharmaceutical companies have made it clear that they intend to fight hard, but we must fight harder. While we celebrate our state win in Maine, we must keep the campaign going in the national arena. Please take a moment to call 1-844-226-7032 and urge Maine’s Senators to Stop Rx Greed. Now.

AARP Maine is committed to working with our lawmakers to enact solutions that will provide long overdue relief not just for older Americans, but for all consumers. To learn more about AARP’s Rx advocacy work and to make your voice heard, visit www.aarp.org/rx. If you are willing to work with our Maine office to bring down prescription drug prices, or if you have your own Rx story to share, please email me@aarp.org. We look forward to hearing from you.

AARP Weekly Scam Alert! (Week of August 1, 2019)

According to government estimates, Medicare lost $52 billion to fraud, abuse and improper billing in FY2017. Medicare fraud typically involves rogue health care providers or medical suppliers who bill the program for services, equipment or medication that they don’t actually provide, or else inflate the cost of those items. Some will even falsify patients’ diagnoses to justify unnecessary tests, surgeries and other procedures or write prescriptions for patients they’ve never examined. Others use genuine patient information, sometimes obtained through identity theft, to create fake claims.

One of the most effective ways to combat against Medicare fraud is to review your Medicare statements and make sure the dates and services listed are correct. If something doesn’t look right, call your medical provider’s office.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 1-877-908-3360 to report a scam or get help if you’ve fallen victim.

Provided by AARP of Maine.