Thursday, February 29, 2024

Why Healthcare Scams are on the Rise and What You Can Do About It

With the increase in securities and awareness among the people about scammers, they have advanced their scamming business. They are targeting older generations and luring senior citizens to provide their personal details to them by pretending to be healthcare agents or by providing healthcare services.

Scammers have started businesses out of fear because, since COVID-19, people are scared and health conscious. So they took advantage of the pandemic to loot people. People have received multiple calls and emails from scammers, and as the older generation is vulnerable to exploitation, they have senior citizens as their prime focus.

The con artists scam people by calling them “healthcare agents” and convincing them to renew or purchase a cheaper healthcare plan. Through email, they rush people to renew their healthcare plan within a certain period or the customer will lose all the money he/she paid.

There are many ways the scammer can loot you; let me list some of the possible ways and how to stop and avoid these healthcare scams.

Types of healthcare scams

Generally, these scammers will call you, text you, or visit your home and provide a genuine service. But the service is not approved by government officials, and they will claim to treat a particular disease and show false certificates to gain your trust. They will do everything to gather your personal details, which they will use later, which comes under identity theft. Let’s start with the first and most common scam.

Telemarketing / phone scams

In telemarketing scams, they will call you and pose as a Medicare agent or an agent from a survey company. They will try to get some confidential details as part of the “verification process”. As a part of the fake process, they will ask you to confirm the social security number and Medicare number.

They will ask you to share your medical details and what prescription your doctor gave you and ask you to get it from a different pharmacy. As insurance agents, they will try to confirm details and sell cheaper insurance plans.

They will even trick you into sharing all this information by saying your particular medication or medical equipment requires authorization. Here, many people (especially older people) share their details with the agent.

Email Scam

In email scams, scammers play smartly; they try to connect with people and ask them if they have received any mail regarding a particular issue, and they have to confirm particular information, which they can do via the received email.

The email scam is the direct root of the phishing scam; they create a phony or fake website where the link in the email will direct the user. The website will feel genuine and real, and after you put all the information on it, all the data is collected on the scammer’s server.

If you see anything suspicious, try to report it or ask about the email to your doctor; even look out for the phone number or helpline number provided by the email.

Sometimes, when you click on the link, it automatically installs software called “Keystroke logging.” This software will monitor every move you make on your system and every key you press, and it can steal all your personal details from your system.

Testing Scams

The new scam on the market is “free testing scams”. I’ll recommend you to double check if anything is free; free stuff comes with a lot of consequences. Scammers will try to send you a free testing kit (for genetics testing or for COVID); later, they will ask you for your personal details.

There you will be trapped; your information will be used for medical claims, and if their claim is rejected, you have to bear the consequences.

How do I spot a healthcare scam?

Scams in general are easy to spot. Scammers will try to convince you to buy something and then rush you. They will mention the offer is for a limited period and you have to buy it now or it will cost double in the future.

When you are ready to buy such schemes, they will tell you to pay via wire transfer or some gift card. They will mention the reason behind why they want a gift card and how it involves your benefit. So it’s better to be vigilant in such situations and respond as quickly as possible.

Steps to avoid scams

The best measure you can take to avoid such scams is to “never share your personal details with anyone”. Details like Medicare and Social Security numbers are not meant to be shared. Scammers can try to make medical claims using your details.

Secondly, avoid their call; don’t get into the conversation. Avoid the emails; sometimes emails may contain malicious software. It can infect your device or steal your data from your account. You should only purchase FDA-approved testing kits. Look out for fraudulent certificates.

Many people find themselves trapped because of free schemes. Scammers will bill you thousands of dollars; in short, they will pretend to be you and claim thousands of dollars from your company. They will file claims for treatment with a high budget.

You should read the policy documents carefully to determine if any extra charges or suspicious charges have been added or not. Sometimes you will be billed for treatment you never received, and you should check whether the date of services is correct or not.

Cessation

That was all about the healthcare scams. If you receive such calls, emails, or texts, report them immediately. Healthcare scams are serious crimes, and many senior citizens lose their money because of them. You should be aware of such crimes and never trust anyone with your personal details.

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