In recent weeks, we have been warning the public about the scammers exploiting COVID-19. New scams are popping up daily. While we need to be cautious of anyone selling COVID-19 tests, cures, or vaccines, we still need to stay vigilant and be aware of “old” scams that are still occurring. Fraudsters are still offering beneficiaries “free” knee and back braces. THIS IS A SCAM! The person making these offers is AFTER YOUR MEDICARE NUMBER!
Scammers are broadcasting TV commercials or contacting Medicare beneficiaries by phone to offer “free or low cost” knee, back and other orthotic braces. If you disclose your Medicare number, you can end up with boxes of unwanted and unneeded braces, a compromised Medicare number, and potential denied Medicare claims if you require such braces in the future. Medicare only pays for durable medical equipment based on medical necessity – meaning it’s an item you really need for your medical condition – and requires a prescription from your doctor, not a doctor you’ve never met or a doctor on TV. Guard your Medicare card from scammers who may be contacting you through cold calls, unannounced home visits, colorful postcards, and/or TV and newspaper ads.
- If you receive a call from someone offering you a “free” brace covered by Medicare, hang up immediately.
- If medical equipment is delivered to you, don’t accept it unless it was ordered by your physician. Refuse the delivery or return it to the sender. Keep a record of the sender’s name and the date you returned the items.
- Be suspicious of anyone who offers you free medical equipment and then requests your Medicare number. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.
- Only your doctor should prescribe and/or approve any requests for durable medical equipment.
- Be cautious of unsolicited requests for your Medicare number. Do not give you Medicare information to anyone you don’t know.
If you are contacted about a “free” brace, please report it to our Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) 1-800-488-6070.