Healthcare frauds are widespread and target individuals both emotionally and financially. Scammers pose as legitimate service providers or the service-providing firm and lure their potential clients with tempting services that, in reality, don’t exist. However, the main goal of a scammer is to acquire sensitive information, including personal and financial information, for deceptive activities and to deceive their next target.
These scams not only result in financial losses for patients and insurers, but they can also put patients at risk of harm by providing them with ineffective or harmful treatments. Healthcare scams are considered a serious crime and can lead to hefty fines, imprisonment, and the revocation of medical licences for those who engage in such activities.
How does a Healthcare scam work?
A healthcare scam typically works by tricking their potential clients into paying for fake or unnecessary healthcare products, programmes, or services, which results in stealing their sensitive information for fraudulent purposes. Initially, scammers create fake healthcare products and sell them to people, assuring them that they can cure serious medical conditions. However, these products are assuredly ineffective or even dangerous, and can cause harm to you or your loved ones.
Moreover, scammers send phishing emails or make phone calls posing as healthcare providers or insurers, asking for sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, credit card details, or Medicare numbers. They can then use this information to commit identity theft or other types of fraud. Also, some healthcare providers may recommend unnecessary healthcare services or procedures to patients in order to generate more revenue. Although these services are dangerous, the procedures are invasive and come with serious risks.
Red flags of Healthcare scams –
- If you receive an unsolicited email or message from a potential healthcare service provider, you can be suspicious. A legitimate healthcare provider doesn’t bestow you with an offer from their side.
- A healthcare service provider claiming to have a program, products, and services that can cure serious medical conditions can be apprehensive. There is no such thing as a miracle cure, and a legitimate healthcare service provider doesn’t appraise such claims.
- A healthcare service provider expecting you to act on the offer granted immediately, can be a major red flag. A legitimate healthcare provider will always give you some time to research and think about the benefits.
- If you receive an unsolicited offer that demands Medicare or details about the insurance services, be wary. Scammers try to lure you and extract sensitive information for further fraudulent activities.
- If a representative of a healthcare firm approaches you and offers you magnifying services that are too good to be true, be sceptical about it. Generally, these kinds of scammers don’t acquire the legitimate licence for the services they are adhering to.
How do you protect yourself from Healthcare scams?
- Refrain from providing sensitive information, which includes personal or medical information, to an unsolicited source that claims to be a representative from your healthcare firm.
- Do your research before agreeing to any healthcare services, products, or the service provider. Verify their credentials and check for any red flags, such as no physical location or pressure to act fast.
- Protect your Medicare information by not giving it to an unsolicited source. Also, ensure to review your Medicare insurance bill carefully to avoid dubious charges added for products and services that you haven’t received.
- Use secured payment methods, such as credit cards or reputable payment processors, while making payment for healthcare products and services from the healthcare firm.
- Check the legitimacy of the service provider or firm online. Exercise due diligence by scrutinising their review, rating, and feedback, for a wider picture.
Healthcare scams are not confined to a single region; they have been widespread all around the world. As it is a sensitive issue, scammers mainly target the elderly, who most prominently require healthcare insurance or treatments as they grow older. Although, if you want legitimate medical or healthcare insurance or treatment, research online on official accounts or governmental websites where you are capable of finding a list, or you can ask your family or friends that you can trust if they have any experience in this industry. As a result, it is imperative to look after yourself and the well-being of your loved ones and stay safe from these scams.