Unwanted or unsolicited calls to homes or cellphones are generally on the increase, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
"When it comes to older adults, several themes seem to be arising with these calls," said Brigit Hassig, director of Four Pointes Center for Successful Aging (the former North Ottawa County Council on Aging).
With the passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act and subsequent changes, older adults are receiving calls that they need to confirm their health care coverage or risk losing it, are in need of new Medicare cards, or are asked to confirm billing to Medicare of services and medical equipment that have not been ordered.
"In virtually all these cases (scams), the older adult has received the call unsolicited and is asked to confirm or provide personal information," Hassig said. "Callers should never provide or confirm any personal information to these calls and ask the caller to not contact them again. Our agency rule is — if you didn’t ask for the call with these issues, do not take it."
Older adults have several options to stop or report unwanted calls:
(1) They may register their residential telephone number, including wireless numbers, on the national Do-Not-Call registry by telephone or by Internet at no cost. Consumers can register online for the national registry by going to www.donotcall.gov. To register by phone, call 888-382-1222 (for TTY, call 866-290-4236). You must call from the phone number you want registered.
(2) If it's regarding health insurance or prescription coverage issues, consumers may call Michigan’s Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program at 800-803-7174 or the Four Pointes Tri-County MMAP Fraud Prevention staff at 616-842-9210 and discuss their concerns.
(3) Older adults can also report aggressive or questionable calls to the Michigan Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 877-765-8388.
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