Monday, February 20, 2012
 
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Fraud alerts for the week of Feb. 20

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[February 20, 2012]  OAK PARK -- The Illinois Senior Medicare Patrol program, known as SMP, sends out weekly fraud alerts released by AgeOptions. Below are the alerts released Friday:

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Watch Out For the "Felony Free" Scam

Illinois SMP Coordinator Erin Weir was a guest on the U.S. Postal Inspection Service radio show "Don't Fall For It" this week, discussing health care fraud in Illinois. During the show, U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Tom Brady warned the show's listeners about a new telemarketing scam called the "felony free" scam. In this scam, a caller says that s/he is calling from the federal government to offer the person thousands of dollars for being "felony free." The caller then asks for bank account/credit card information in order to deposit the money.

This probably goes without saying, but the federal government is NOT giving out money to people who have not committed felonies this is simply another ploy to obtain personal information and steal from people. Another good reason to remind everyone you know to NEVER give out any personal information to anyone who calls on the phone for any reason!

CMS Warning About Tax Fraud and Identity Theft

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a warning this week about a scam in which Medicare beneficiaries' identities are being stolen and used to submit fraudulent tax returns. It appears that individuals' information (name, Social Security number, address, and date of birth) is being obtained from employers, schools, hospitals, and prisons. This information is then used to electronically file a tax return in the person's name, and the tax refund is loaded onto a Green Dot prepaid debit card. The victims generally do not realize that their information has been stolen until they try to file their tax return.

If anyone believes they have been a victim of this scam, call the Illinois SMP program at AgeOptions: (800)699-9043. We can help consumers get in contact with the proper authorities to report it.

[Text copied from files received from AgeOptions / Illinois SMP]

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