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Scam Immunization

You have your desk stocked up with bacterial wipes, disinfectant spray, and a bottle of vitamin C tablets. As soon as your co-worker arrives with the dreaded condition, you start pulling out your supplies and stay as far away from the infected individual. Yes, the dreaded cold and flu season. With December around the corner, we will enter the peak cold and flu season.

Certain groups are at high risk during flu season and not just because of the flu. With Medicare and Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment ongoing, they are targets for scammers trying to get information.

Scammers pose as sales representatives for Medicare; however, Medicare doesn’t have sales representatives. Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) is voluntary, so you are not required to join a prescription drug plan to maintain your benefits. If the person on the phone says they need your personal information so you can keep your coverage, ask for a quick payment, or threatens you, hang up.

For ACA, scammers impersonate agents and ask for a person’s bank information. While ACA agents do call to follow up after an individual has signed up, they do not ask for bank information. The agent should give you their name and ID number, so you can call and verify their identity. The agent will ask you to confirm your name, address, social security, or another identification number. If you aren’t comfortable answering questions over the phone, ask them to mail you instructions on how to complete the application. Do not pay a fee for assistance in filling out the form as Marketplace assistance is available for free. Be careful of telemarketers trying to sell you insurance. Do your homework first and verify the company. Also, phony websites are out to sell you insurance and mimic legitimate sites. Do not click on any links to a website, type it the address to your browser, and go straight to the source.

To avoid the flu, a person can find prevention options by becoming inoculated, washing hands, and avoiding their sick co-workers. To prevent a scam, a person can to do their homework by asking and verifying the person on the other end of the phone. Get your scam immunization at bbb.org, where you can learn about scams and how to prevent being a victim.

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Written by Roseann Freitas

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