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The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit helps those on Medicare afford their brand name and generic medications, but scammers are also finding ways to benefit from the coverage. In fact, consumer protection officials from around the country report that they regularly receive complaints from seniors as well as other consumers who say they have been contacted by companies who claim they were “authorized” or “funded” by Medicare to contact beneficiaries.

While these companies were definitely not “authorized” or “funded” by Medicare, they have discovered several methods of scamming seniors and other consumers out of money, time or personal information. Protect yourself or your loved ones by learning the following five scams to look out for:

  1. 1.) Membership required: the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit is voluntary and supplements your other Medicare benefits. To participate, you neither have to pay a membership fee nor join any type of group or club.
  2. 2.) Off-hours calling: those companies pedaling Medicare drug plans must obey telemarketing laws. They cannot call you if you are on a “do-not-call” list or if you’ve asked them not to contact you again. Additionally, they are not allowed to call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  3. 3.) Phone and spam trolling: be aware—the Social Security Administration will never ask you for your bank account number, credit card number, or life insurance policy number. Most importantly, the SSA will never contact you via email or telephone.
  4. 4.) Door-to-door sales: it is illegal for companies or organizations selling Medicare drug plans to come to your door uninvited or send you unsolicited emails. Moreover, while they can call you on the telephone to promote their drug plans, they cannot sign you up for anything over the phone.
  5. 5.) There is no such thing as prizes or rewards: if a company promises a prize or reward if you sign up for their Medicare drug plan, they’re lying. It’s illegal to sign anyone up for a drug plan with the promise of a prize.

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