Nov. 05Medicare scammers seeking personal data
Better Business Bureaus across the country are warning seniors about a Medicare scam.
Seniors in Northern Arizona reported receiving calls from individuals claiming to be with Medicare offering "free" items such as a back brace and diabetic supplies in exchange for consumers' financial and personal information. Due to the high likelihood that callers are not associated with Medicare, the Better Business Bureau is alerting the senior community to be wary of calls offering Medicare benefits.
According to seniors, the phone rings and callers identify themselves as a representative from Medicare. The caller proceeds to offer "free" items to entice consumers to provide their Medicare number, as well as insurance and personal information.
In another scenario, the caller claims "all seniors are getting a new Medicare card" and, for verification purposes, they must provide the bank account number associated with their Social Security benefits.
"Consumers should be suspicious of unsolicited calls from anyone claiming to be from Medicare," Better Business Bureau President Matthew Fehling said in a prepared statement.
"Medicare will generally not make unsolicited calls to update information, issue a new card or offer free medical equipment. We recommend seniors hang up and call a trusted Medicare number if they have questions regarding their benefits."
Better Business Bureau officials caution seniors against providing their bank account information, Medicare number, Social Security number or any other personal information to unknown individuals over the phone particularly telephone marketers claiming to be from Medicare and asking for payment.
Anyone wishing to report Medicare fraud can contact the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General at oig.hhs.gov or 1-800-447-8477. Arizona residents can also contact the Arizona Division of Aging and Adult Services at 1-800-432-4040.
Bone health is topic of free UA seminar
The public is invited to a free presentation about maximizing bone health through dietary intake and physical activity from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Chase Bank Auditorium at the University of Arizona Medical Center University Campus, 1501 N. Campbell Ave.
Registered dietitian and UA nutritional sciences professor Linda Houtkooper will give a talk titled "Nutrition and Exercise for Bone Health."
Houtkooper has helped develop national models for assessing body composition in children and track and field athletes. She also is a nationally recognized author, best known for her books "Best Exercise Program for Osteoporosis Prevention" and "Winning Sports Nutrition."
Her research focuses on understanding how dietary intake, body composition and physical activity affect the prevention of osteoporosis and promotion of healthy weight management in women.
Seating is limited, and prior registration is requested. To register, call the University of Arizona Arthritis Center at 626-5040 or write to LivingHealthy@arthritis.arizona.edu by email.
There is a parking fee of $1.50 per hour, cash only, in the UA Medical Center's visitor-and-patient parking garage. Free parking is available after 5 p.m. in the UA Zone 1 permit and metered parking in Lot 2030, just south of the parking garage at East Mabel Street and North Martin Avenue.
Contact medical reporter Stephanie Innes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4134.
(c)2012 The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Ariz.)
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