Potential medicare scams reported in Cheyenne County
July 20, 2023
CHEYENNE COUNTY – According to the Cheyenne County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) and Sheriff Adam Frerichs, there have been potential medicare scams reported and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) confirmed there are always scams, but the department is not seeing a measurable increase.
According to Sheriff Frerichs, a local resident informed his office of fraudulent medicare charges on her account. According to the resident, she contacted the Medicare Benefit Integrity Unit (BIU), 1-800-633-4227, and was told “it was becoming more and more prevalent.” She advised the sheriff's office to inform citizens to watch their statements.
The Sidney Sun-Telegraph reached out to NDHHS to inquire about whether or not there is a concern to the community and what precautions residents can take to prevent from falling victim to scams.
In an email response from NDHHS Communications Specialist Nate Watson, the department wrote:
“We've had a few members contact us about possible scams.”
Adding, “Fortunately, we've been able to confirm that those outreaches were legitimate.”
“We are working together with our health plans and their partners to assist our members with reminders about making sure their contact information is up to date, making sure their household information is up to date and making sure to answer any requests for information we send them,” Watson wrote. “If a member ever has any concern about whether a phone call or other outreach is legitimate, they are encouraged to reach out to us.”
NDHHS Interim Director of Commun-ications Jeff Powell wrote, “At this time, we are not seeing a measurable increase in Medicare scams.”
Adding, “NDHHS is working with our health plans and their partners to assist our members with reminders about making sure their contact information is up to date.”
Powell expressed that any residents who have questions or concerns are asked to reach out to ACCESSNebraska at http://www.accessnebraska.ne.gov or call 1-855-632-7633.
The state provided the following information for residents to help determine if something is a scam, potential scam or an outreach program:
First, scammers likely already have personal information they found online through searches or data breaches. Some information they could potentially already have is your name, address, date of birth and even a partial or entire social security number.
Second, scammers often create a sense of urgency by attempting to get individuals to act emotionally, such as telling an individual their medicare card will soon expire and offer special rates, plans or premiums that sound too good to be true.
Finally, scammers will repeatedly ask individuals they call to “verify” their Medicare number or other sensitive information not readily available online.
NDHHS says, “when in doubt, hang up and call the direct NDHHS number” listed above. Also, Medicare communicates with residents via their preferred communications method, such as the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
According to the CCSO report filed by the concerned citizen, her Medicare card was charged with a fraudulent activity for nearly $200 for a COVID-19 home test from Test Liberty Inc., out of Chicago, Illinois.
“It's best if our residents don't give our their private medicare information or private personal information,” Sheriff Frerichs told the Sun-Telegraph. “Residents should also make it a habit to check their Medicare accounts and statements routinely to prevent fraud and scams from slipping through.”
For more information, visit http://www.accessnebraska.ne.gov.