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How to Avoid Drug Discount Card Scams

As the Medicare-approved discount card programs began marketing to beneficiaries on May 3rd, AARP warns consumers to guard themselves against the potential of fraud.

If you choose to enroll in a Medicare-approved discount card, first verify the company with Medicare before you sign up. You can do this by going to www.medicare.gov, or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Here are some important things to remember:

-- No one is allowed to sell Medicare-approved drug discount cards by phone or door-to-door.
-- You cannot sign up for a card by phone or on-line.
-- No legitimate company selling the discount card will ever ask you to give your Social Security number, Medicare number, credit card number, or bank account information.
-- You can only sign up by calling a Medicare-approved provider of the drug discount card. They will just ask you for your name and address so that they can send you an application (where you will need to provide your Social Security and Medicare number before sending it back). They will not ask you to provide other information by phone.

There are several steps that you can take to protect yourself against these scams:

-- Never give out or confirm personal information to anyone who calls or e-mails you. Con artists may pose as a company you do business with, as a government official, or someone else in authority. They will ask you for information - in fact, this is how identity theft often happens. Remember: no legitimate company will ever contact you and ask for your Social Security or Medicare number, or your credit card of bank account information.
-- Don't forget the power you have to simply hang up the phone when a stranger calls trying to sell you something you don't want.
-- For your own safety, don't allow anyone you don't know into your home. It's OK to tell someone they cannot come in. It's easier to close the door on them before they get in than to get them out once they're inside.
-- If you choose a Medicare-approved discount card to enroll in, check the company out with Medicare before you sign up. You can do this by going to www.medicare.gov, or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Once in the "Medicare Improvements" section, press "0" to reach an operator.
-- If you signed up for any card claiming to be a Medicare-approved drug discount card before May 3, chances are that it's fraudulent. Report it immediately.
-- If you suspect that a con artist has approached you, report it! Call your state Attorney General or local police

Report fraudulent Medicare drug cards

-- Call the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General. By phone: 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477), By E-Mail: HHSTips@oig.hhs.gov, By TTY: 1-800-377-4950.
-- Contact your State Attorney General.

AARP has a website (www.aarp.org) and a phone number (1-888-OUR-AARP) to give you information to help you understand your Medicare and prescription drug choices. A booklet that explains the changes in Medicare, titled "Medicare Changes That Could Affect You," is also available by calling 1-888-OUR-AARP.

Category: Consumer Tips, FRAUD ALERTS
Posted on May 7, 2004 at 11:00 PM | Permalink

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Comments

I've had really good luck using the prescription discount card that I found at www.rxdrugcard.com. The monthly membership fee is only $4.50. My friend says he saves $400 a month using it. That's extreme -- he takes a lot of meds. I save enough to make it worthwhile.

Posted by: Wally at Aug 17, 2010 12:33:09 PM

Everyone has to watch out for themselves. No-one else is going to take care of you. Even folks with insurance should pay attention. If you've got a $10 co-pay on a generic ask what the cash price is because it might be less than $10!! I found a prescription discount card to help with my meds. It's at www.rxdrugcard.com. They tell you right there on the website what you'll be paying if you use their card. And the membership fee is only $4.95 a month for the whole family. Don't pay more than you need to. Do some research. It's YOUR money.

Posted by: Jennifer at Jul 2, 2009 2:29:18 PM

Oh, this is rich. AARP is warning others? I have been scammed by AARP. Their contractor sold us (for $49.90 for the two of us) their 'discount prescription card' last June. Then in August, their 'new' contractor, Walgreens took over, and did not honor their previous contractor's agreements. AARP plays dumb. I've spent over 3 hours now on the phone this past week and still no one at AARP seems to know a thing about it. They won't stand behind their contractors and they keep trying to transfer me to their redneck Walgreens people who of course, keep telling me it's not their problem - it happened before their time.

For AARP to try to even mention scams in the prescription drug card business is a joke, when they're one of the biggest perpetrators. And just try to find someone who knows anything? I spoke to a Barbara in the CEO's office (supposedly) and she did nothing but create a case number that ended up generating an AARP phone calls. BUT the AARP person who called said "Oh, that's not my job" and hung up. Then after telling them to under no circumstance waste my time with Walgreens people, another Walgreens redneck named Michelle phoned yesterday, left a message, totally oblivious to what is going on.

So run - run as fast and as far as you can from AARP. They don't care about us. They care about their commissions. They're just another insurance scammer.

Posted by: S Miller at Apr 2, 2009 10:09:25 AM