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Nebraska Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP)
   Frauds and Scams

Email Fraud
A fraudulent email claiming to be from the FBI is informing recipients that they have won money but need to contact the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Lagos, Nigeria, to provide personal information and pay a $250 - $350 fee. It also threatens that if the fee is not paid within 24 hours, the FBI will be coming to their home to question them and possibly arrest them on charges of terrorism, drug trafficking, or money laundering. This very official looking document even includes the seal of the FBI, reference to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the signature of Robert Mueller, director of the FBI.

Medicare Card Replacement Fraud
Scammers have been calling seniors in Nebraska and other states informing them that the red, white, and blue Medicare cards are being replaced. Scammers inform beneficiaries that a replacement card will be issued after verification of personal and bank information. If you receive this type of call, hang up and notify your local police. The Medicare Cards are not being replaced.

Tax-Time Schemes / Source: BBB Website
Tax reduction schemes are promoted by companies that claim they can help consumers reduce what they owe the IRS by working on their behalf with the IRS. However, the BBB has taken complaints from consumers who paid thousands of dollars to such companies only to find out that the companies didn’t reduce the amount they owed and, in some cases, had never contacted the IRS.
BBB advice: If you have a debt with the IRS, consult an IRS enrolled agent, a certified public accountant or a tax attorney to determine whether you qualify to file for anything other than paying your taxes, fines and penalties in full.

FDA warns public of continued extortion scam by FDA impersonators
Through a recent press release, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned the public about criminals posing as FDA special agents and other law enforcement personnel as part of a continued international extortion scam.
The criminals call the victims -- who in most cases previously purchased drugs over the Internet or via "telepharmacies" -- and identify themselves as FDA special agents or other law enforcement officials. The criminals inform the victims that purchasing drugs over the Internet or the telephone is illegal, and that law enforcement action will be pursued unless a fine or fee ranging from $100 to $250,000 is paid. Victims often also have fraudulent transactions placed against their credit cards.

Lincoln, Nebraska Senior is Conned out of $22,000
An 83-year-old Lincoln woman informed police that she lost $22,557 in what is described as a sweepstakes scam. The senior started getting phone calls Jan. 31 from a woman saying she was an attorney with a Miami law firm. The caller said her firm was handling the transfer of about $950,000 the Lincoln woman had won through a sweepstakes. But first, the caller said, the Lincoln woman needed to send fees to cover processing the transaction and for attorney expenses and taxes. She told the elderly woman to send several sums of money on prepaid cards, according to police.

Settlement over Illegal Marketing of Drug
Johnson & Johnson will pay the U.S. government over $1 billion to settle claims that it illegally marketed the antipsychotic drug, Risperdal.  Several states including Nebraska sued the company for Medicare fraud and accused Johnson and Johnson of downplaying the side effects of the drug and illegally marketing the drug.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Fraud
While DME companies offer a valuable service by providing wheelchairs, respiratory nebulizers, nutrition and feeding tubes and other health care equipment, many fraudulent DME companies have emerged targeting seniors with scams and fraudulently billing Medicare. A fraudulent DME company may offer Medicare beneficiaries meals or food in exchange for their Medicare number or may use stolen or purchased Medicare numbers and begin to bill Medicare for goods.  Typically, no actual equipment is delivered to the beneficiary and the beneficiary may not know equipment is being billed in his name but not delivered.  In other schemes, a fraudulent DME company may convince seniors that the diabetic supplies they receive will be sent at no cost to them and bill Medicare for the same even when the seniors are not in need of those supplies.  Lately, the diabetic supplies scam has been on the rise with many Nebraskans being harassed by fraudulent DME suppliers with incessant phone calls.

Telemarketing Scams
Scammers use fake telemarketing calls to prey on older people.  The most common one pertains to the con artist telling the individual that he/she has found a large sum of money and is willing to split it if the person will wire a payment from his/her bank account.  Often, a second con artist is involved, posing as a banker or other trustworthy stranger.

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