The Medicare scam is an all too popular ruse that plagues the voice channel; this harmful deceit was crafted specifically to hurt the elderly citizens that utilize the system’s benefits. By impersonating government agents and offering additional benefits these bad actors do their best to ascertain your personal information.
Medicare is a government health insurance program meant to take care of the needs of more than 52 million people aged 65 and older. Originally started in 1965 under the Social Security Administration, this program offers a variety of benefits and coverage to patients. Medicare is broken up into four “Parts”:
- Part A - covers inpatient care and hospice services
- Part B - covers outpatient services, hospital charges, office visits, and prescription drugs
- Part C - is an alternative service that allows patients to use annual out-of-pocket expenses to choose a health plan with equivalent coverage to Part A and Part B
- Part D - typically covers a broader spectrum of prescription drugs
Scammers will offer different benefits and rewards based on each “Part” of your Medicare service. In many cases, these bad actors will target Part C as private companies approved by Medicare offer it. The lack of federal oversight makes Medicare Part C scams easier to pull off and a lot more confusing to its potential victims. Since Part C is private, the numbers they use to call could potentially be unlabeled.
Medicare scam popularity
User reports from customers using Hiya Protect showed a height of 7.73M potential medicare scam callers spanning from November 2022 to January 2023. The largest spike was seen in mid-November of last year. At its peak over 27,000 distinct medicare scam calls were made and captured.
Pickup rate and call duration
Out of the potential medicare scam calls the pickup rate reached heights of over 20% - oddly enough, this peak was seen in January of 2023 (after the open enrolment period). The spike could be due to perceived follow-up calls since most healthcare providers begin their services on the first of the new year.
When these scammers are able to make a connection, they have the potential to keep their victims on the line for a long time. The average call duration for answered calls reached over 267 seconds (nearly 5 minutes). The longer scammers can keep you on the phone the higher the risk of them getting your valuable information.
According to an FTC consumer alert this upward trend in Medicare scam calls is due to the open enrollment period that recently passed (the last date to enroll was December 7th). Scammers will abuse the vulnerable state that comes with changing (or retaining) healthcare providers; as you shop around bad actors will do their best to steal your information by impersonating a government official
This deceptive behavior not only puts patients at risk, but it also makes actual healthcare providers’ jobs a lot harder; patients may miss out on valuable and legitimate information if they are unable to trust an incoming call. This is why a branded caller ID solution, like Hiya Connect, is an integral part of a secure voice channel. By branding calls with a logo, name, and call reason your enterprise can rest assured that they will get their calls answered.
How to fight back against scam calls
While scam techniques can prove to be highly effective, Hiya offers a variety of solutions to fight back.
Carriers can protect their customers from phone scams by adding Hiya Protect, which blocks or labels spam and scam calls with high accuracy, without blocking essential calls. Not only does it block or label known spam numbers, Hiya Protect identifies the patterns of spammers and blocks spam campaigns in their earliest stages.
Enterprises can also help their customers feel safe when answering the phone by adding Hiya Connect, which enables businesses to display their company name, logo, and reason for the call on the recipient’s mobile phone. Branded caller ID identifies who is calling so customers can trust who is on the other end when they answer.
Individuals can check with their phone carrier to see if they offer spam/scam-blocking capabilities. If they do and spam and fraud calls are still getting through, download the Hiya App to take more control of your spam and fraud call protection.