JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — According to the local nonprofit organization ElderSource, Northeast Flordia seniors are being actively targeted as part of a new scam that developed nationally as Medicare benefits for in-home COVID tests ended in May.
ElderSource, Northeast Florida’s Area Agency and Disability Resource Center, is receiving complaints from area seniors who have received sometimes multiple COVID test kits in the mail that they did not request.
Those sending the test kits are targeting seniors’ Medicare information to improperly bill the federal government, John Risler, ElderSource volunteer director of Northeast Florida’s Senior Medicare Patrol task force, described in an alerted press release.
“We tell seniors that they are never liable to pay for anything they receive in the mail that they did not order,” Risler said. “But often those receiving these test kits have no idea that someone is billing the federal government on their behalf.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General has been receiving complaints from around the country about these unsolicited tests. Earlier this year, the office posted a fraud warning on its website, urging consumers to report this and other Covid-related scams.
Risler said that while those being targeted are unlikely to lose money personally, the fact that they receive the test could indicate that their Medicare beneficiary information has been compromised. That could mean these seniors are vulnerable to other scams, and they should order a new Medicare card with a new number.
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If you receive an unsolicited COVID-19 test kit in the mail, report it. Consumers are asked to report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission. Report the scam to Medicare online or call ElderSource at (888) 242-4464.