Attorney General reminds consumers to never provide your Medicare number to anyone over the telephone
After being alerted that Rhode Island Medicare patients were receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be a representative of "HealthSource" requesting personal information including patients' Medicare number, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin is warning Rhode Islanders that these phone calls are a scam and to remind consumers to never provide Medicare ID information to anyone over the telephone.
According to reports, a male has called Medicare enrollees and stated he was calling on behalf of HealthSource RI. The phone number that appears on caller ID is a 401-area code.
The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit and Insurance Advocate confirmed with HealthSource RI that the agency never contacts customers via telephone to ask for such information.
"Medicare scams and fraud cost billions every year. Access to a person's Medicare ID number is akin to printing money," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "With that number, individuals can set up fake businesses to bill Medicare for health-related items that are never provided to the Medicare subscriber. Keeping your Medicare number safe and secure is as critically important as it is to keep your social security number and financial information safe and secure."
If you receive one of these phone calls, the Attorney General's Office says the best thing you can do is to hang up. If someone leaves you a voicemail claiming to be from HealthSource, don't call the phone number they leave on the message.
Other tips the Attorney General offers include:
• Never give out your Medicare ID number to anyone on the telephone. • Check you Medicare statements regularly and report suspicious services or products to the Medicare Office of the Inspector General, 800-447-8477, and • Alert the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit so they can share the information with others. The Consumer Protection Unit can be reached by calling 401-274-4400.
Although the area code appears to be from Rhode Island, it is very likely the scam artist is spoofing the area code to add credibility to the scam.