Seniors learn how to avoid falling prey to scams

Posted at 5:06 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 18:07:24-04

Workers with the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol stopped by the Palmer Center in Independence, Missouri to help prevent senior citizens from becoming scam victims. 

Star Tebbe is among the millions of “seasoned citizens” over the age of 55 and often under attack by scammers.  “They call constantly. Just didn’t sound right, so I hung up on them.” 

Brian Henning and his team spent the day educating seniors about scams heading their way, primarily those involving Medicare and Medicaid. In addition to speakers and workshops, there were games like “Medicaid Bingo.” Henning says it’s a fun way to educate the seniors and help them retain what’s learned. 

“We lose $6.8 million an hour to fraud and abuse," Henning said. "So I want people not to give their information over the phone. Only share it with people they’re supposed to. Their doctor or their provider.”

Mike Hillen learned the hard way. He received a check in the mail.

“Out of curiosity I took it to the bank just to see and the bank looked at it and said ‘we don’t see anything wrong with the check, it looks good.’  And then, of course, it bounced 10 days later,”  Henning says protecting seniors has an indirect impact on everyone.  “That’s our tax money. That affects the services our people on Medicare and Medicaid are given and it also affects the longevity of the program.”

More ways to protect your loved ones: 

  • Do not give your Medicare number to someone you don’t know.
  • Do not accept services from someone who visits you unexpectedly.
  • Do not sign a form without reading it.

Experts also suggest that your loved one carry an “In Case of Emergency” card instead of a Medicare Card or Social Security Card.  That will lessen your chances of falling victim to fraud.