Tips on protecting yourself from medical fraud

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

PHOENIX -- Bobbie Garland knows how easy it is for scammers to steal someone's personal information.

“All anyone needs is a name and social security number they can steal your identity,” she says.

Here in Arizona, Bobbie says one of the biggest scams going on right now is healthcare fraud involving seniors.  It's the reason why she volunteers through the Arizona Department of Economic Security, where she hopes to bring awareness about this growing problem to senior citizens.

“If we keep having the amount of fraud we'll lose benefits, we'll lose part of the program,” Bobbie tells 3 On Your Side.

Aida Leach is with DES and says Arizona's large senior population is a magnet for scammers.

“Scam artists are very brazen, they'll come to the door and say we represent Medicare, I can give you a free x-ray, I can give you free diabetes equipment if you just give me your Medicare number,” Aida explains.

That's why DES is dedicating a volunteer prevention task force made up of people like Bobbie who will help educate other seniors on not becoming a victim.

For example, the prevention task force urges you not to give out your Medicare number and don't carry around your card unless you need it. They also suggest keeping a journal of your doctor's visits and tests that are done and to review your explanation of benefits to get familiar with them. Also, make a habit of reviewing your billing statements frequently to look for unusual charges or double billing.

Finally, never give out any personal information over the phone. Medicare would never call you for sensitive information.

“They have the information, they don't need to call and ask you for the information, so this is a scam,” Bobbie tells us.

If you need more information on Healthcare fraud, Medicare fraud or if you’re a senior citizen who wants to volunteer for this new task force and educate other seniors click on the link below.

For more information about Arizona's SMP volunteer project, call (602) 542-6439 or visit  If you suspect Medicare fraud, call the statewide toll-free number 1-800-432-4040.