INDIANAPOLIS – An infamous scam targeting Medicare recipients is showing up again in central Indiana.

Full disclosure: my own dad recently got this call and promptly hung up on a guy claiming to be from Medicare.  The call came from what looked like a local number, and the caller said my dad qualified for a back brace, completely paid for by Medicare.

Government and watchdog groups like the Better Business Bureau and Office of the Inspector General are already familiar with this scheme.

“Some of these individuals are fraudsters who will ask for your Medicare number or other personal information,” said Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Gary Cantrell.  “They will then send you medical equipment you don not need while billing Medicare in your name.”

Aside from having no need for a back brace, my dad quickly recognized the call for what it was and got off the line.  

The BBB and OIG say these scammers will try to convince you to order a back brace or knee brace or something else you don’t need.  However, that’s all just an attempt to get your medicare number and other information so they can bill Medicare on your behalf.  That can cause you do use up your medicare benefits, which could make it hard to get a piece of equipment later if your doctor does prescribe one.

The people running this scam can be aggressive, according to the BBB.  Even if you say no to the equipment, if you’ve given them your information, they may order it anyway.  Then, it shows up on your door and you could have a difficult time returning it.

Beware of this call if you get it.  It could also be a good idea to talk to an older loved one about it to make sure they don’t fall for it.  In general, it’s best to deal personally with your doctor on these matters and never give your information to someone you don’t know and trust.