You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Seniors: Beware of ‘alert’ scam
“Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” is a well-known phrase that we have heard over and over on the radio and television that advertises an alert product for seniors living alone. This product can most certainly be a life saver, but it is also easy for schemers to market sound-alike items that are actually a bad deal.
Recently, a new scheme targeting seniors has come to light that appears to be a ruse to possible Medicare fraud. The senior receives a phone call about an alert system that is free for six months, and then it is only $10 a month. Sounds like a good deal and it certainly beats out the well-known national competitor, but with all things too good to be true, is it a real deal? How does it work?
First, they want to send someone to your home to discuss the system with you. Then at the appointment, they turn the tables and want to provide you a back brace and a knee brace that will be “free” from Medicare. “This is a good example of how someone can steal money from the Medicare system,” said Barbara Parrott McGinity, program director for the Texas Senior Medicare Patrol. “They offer a simple item, tell you we will get your doctor to approve it, and since Medicare pays for it, why not get it?”
Unless you have discussed getting these items with your doctor, you should not be discussing them with a door-to-door sales person. McGinity stated, “They are likely to bill Medicare for a more expensive item than you receive, ripping off Medicare for thousands of dollars.”
What can you do to protect yourself and your Medicare? Never let strangers come to your home for any purpose. If you really think you are interested in listening to a sales pitch or need a service, then have a family member or friend present to protect you from the smooth sales pitch. More importantly, call the Texas Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-888-341-6187 to see if this sounds legitimate. Report suspicious behavior to the Texas SMP.
Just one more red flag that demonstrates they are not interested in selling you an alert system, all they want is that very valuable Medicare number. Best thing to do when you get a call like this is to hang up!
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Section A: General News Archives
Brownlow: Little chance ‘fracking’ could hurt water (September 2, 2015)
City’s proposed budget, property taxes raise questions (September 2, 2015)
County Commisioners ‘buckle up’ on $24M budget (September 2, 2015)
Court Update (September 2, 2015)
De Leon family sells Olivia’s San Antonio location (September 2, 2015)
Distracted driving program new requirement for teens (September 2, 2015)
Editorial: Coca-Cola to obese people: Hey, exercise more! (September 2, 2015)
Editorial: How will voters sort through all the candidates? (September 2, 2015)
Editorial: Libs: Symbols mean something — unless we disagree (September 2, 2015)
Floresville awards contract for event center repairs (September 2, 2015)
Floresville elections take twists (September 2, 2015)
Floresville struggles to ‘play ball’ (September 2, 2015)
Free webinar series for small businesses (September 2, 2015)
From student job to interim manager (September 2, 2015)
Karnes airport gets $2.1M in funding (September 2, 2015)
Labor Day office closures (September 2, 2015)
Letter: Karnes County officials continue spending (September 2, 2015)
Letter: Urgent: Nix Iran deal (September 2, 2015)
Letter: Voter ID thumbprint (September 2, 2015)
Make your way to Feather Fest (September 2, 2015)
MedDropSA is Sept. 5 (September 2, 2015)
Meeting Watch: East Central ISD (September 2, 2015)
Oscar Mayer issues recall (September 2, 2015)
Paid firefighters could aid La Vernia volunteers (September 2, 2015)
Police Blotter (September 2, 2015)
Register to compete in Adult Literacy challenge (September 2, 2015)
Relay committee to meet Sept. 8 (September 2, 2015)
SARA approves study of Floresville’s River Park (September 2, 2015)
Sponsors needed for Conversation with Constitution event (September 2, 2015)
Stockdale council approves $2.07M 2015-16 budget (September 2, 2015)
Substitute teacher training dates set (September 2, 2015)
TEA lauds Falls City, Poth (September 2, 2015)
The best medicine (September 2, 2015)
VA cuts backlog (September 2, 2015)
Welcome back! (September 2, 2015)