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SCAM ALERT: Durable Medical Equipment local fraud on the rise

The Tumwater SHIBA office received 13 fraud-related complaints during the last two weeks regarding Medicare DME suppliers out of Florida. The scammers are cold calling Medicare beneficiaries in our state telling them they’re from Medicare and offering knee or back braces at no cost to them as Medicare will pay in full for the DME equipment.

Unfortunately, with the complaints we’ve received, the beneficiaries gave out their Medicare number over the phone and within the next two to three days boxes arrived with braces from two different companies, even though the beneficiaries didn’t order the equipment.

The scammers appear to only target beneficiaries with Original Medicare as Medicare Advantage plans require prior authorization for these items.

Unfortunately, Medicare loses $60 billion every year due to fraud, errors and abuse. If you get a call like this, be sure to get the phone number if you have caller ID, and the name of the “agent” and company name – and then hang up and do not provide any personal information. Report the incident and provide the phone number and any other identifying information to our office at 1-800-562-6900. 

SHIBA is Washington state’s Senior Medicare Patrol project. We can help consumers prevent, detect and report Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse. Encourage clients to contact 1-800-562-6900 if they have questions or suspect fraud or abuse.

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