The United States government loses millions of dollars to various types of fraud every year. However, Medicaid fraud is extremely pervasive and hurts taxpayers and individual victims alike.

One of the most common forms of Medicare fraud is enrollment fraud. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, enrollment fraud is extremely common and recognizing the most common forms of it can protect your loved ones.

What are the common signs to look for?

Be aware that it is illegal for any Medicare brokers to contact you by phone, email or in-person to market their plans unless you have given them permission first to do so. (An exception is regular mail: it is legal for brokers to send mail advertising.) If anybody contacts you or a loved one without you having given them permission to do so, it is very possible that the broker is a fraudster.

Many people also fall afoul of Medicare fraud during the period of open enrollment, which is October 15 through December 7th. Some fraudsters will pressure people with time limits or by offering “discounts” or “early-bird specials.”

How can I protect myself?

As with any level of white-collar crime, staying skeptical of anything that sounds “too good to be true” is a good idea. Most of the time, if it seems that way it probably is. Additionally, make sure not to give out pertinent information (Social Security number, Medicare number) in return for “free gifts” or any promotional-sounding jargon.

If you believe that you or somebody you know is a victim of enrollment fraud, you can report it directly to Medicare by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.

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