Medicare Fraud Rose Dramatically During COVID

A new internal report revealed that new channels of Medicare fraud opened up during the COVID pandemic.  This was due in large part to meet newly emerging health care needs of older Americans which left the program vulnerable to falsified billings.  In just one example, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a study in September that said it had already detected potentially fraudulent billings related to telehealth from more than 1,700 health care providers.  This translated to a loss to the government of $128 million.  In California, a federal jury convicted Mark Schena, the president of a Silicon Valley medical technology company, of a conspiracy to bilk Medicare and private insurers out of $77 million.  They marketed a COVID test not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and paired it with other expensive tests.  Also in our state, health-testing laboratory owners Imran Shams and Lourdes Navarro face charges of defrauding Medicare out of $214 million.  They used COVID testing as a pretext to add on expensive and unnecessary respiratory pathogen tests while paying illegal bribes to medical marketers for directing doctor’s orders to their labs.

Monterey, CA Elder Abuse Alert : Working From Home Scam

A stack of gold color coins and dollars on the table

There are so many online scams to watch out for it just gives me a headache.  One of the latest discovered by AARP involved a woman who was offered a job that she could do from home.  They sent her a W-9 form and a check for $3,000.  After she deposited the check, she was instructed to transfer $1,900 via a Bitcoin ATM to “ensure their financial linkup was secure.”  After she made the transfer, her bank called her to inform her the check was fake.

Pacific Grove, CA Elder Abuse Alert : Beware Of Online Dating

A stack of gold color coins and dollars on the table

There are a plethora of elder abuse scams out there, and one recently discovered by AARP was first initiated when a woman joined an online dating site.  After some weeks of chatting, he touted his success at day-trading and convinced her to invest $70,000 in a legitimate crypto exchange.  He buttered her up and eventually talked her into transferring that cryptocurrency to his “investment platform.”  You can guess the rest.  Her online beau quickly disappeared along with her $70,000

Carmel, CA Elder Abuse Alert : PayPal Scam

A stack of gold color coins and dollars on the table

It never ceases to amaze me the crazy scams that seniors fall for.  We are always on the lookout for the newest, and one I had had not heard about before involves a bogus email which is supposedly coming from PayPal.  They tell you that there is an incorrect charge on your PayPal account and that you were overpaid and have to pay it back.  You are then texted a QR code and told to scan it in at an ATM and transfer the money.  The funds are then rerouted to a Bitcoin account which is untraceable and your money is now gone.

Pebble Beach, CA Elder Abuse Alert : Hacked Facebook Account

elderly woman helped by caregiver - In Home Alzheimer’s Care Pacific Grove

There are too many elder abuse scams to count on all ten fingers, but if you pay attention and don’t give out any personal information or access to your bank accounts, you should be fine.  The latest one that AARP heard about was a woman who got a Facebook message, allegedly from her nephew, saying “Auntie.  I found this great investment. I’ve doubled my money.  She clicked on the link and invested $12,000 which was turned into BitCoin and vanished into the ether.  It turns out that her nephew’s Facebook account had been hacked and the fraudsters were sending out these messages to friends and family.

Monterey, CA Elder Abuse Alert : Working From Home Scam

elderly woman walking, helped by caregiver -Pacific Grove Companion Care Service

There are so many online scams to watch out for it just gives me a headache.  One of the latest discovered by AARP involved a woman who was offered a job that she could do from home.  They sent her a W-9 form and a check for $3,000.  After she deposited the check, she was instructed to transfer $1,900 via a Bitcoin ATM to “ensure their financial linkup was secure.”  After she made the transfer, her bank called her to inform her the check was fake.

Monterey, CA Elder Abuse Alert : Working From Home Scam

There are so many online scams to watch out for it just gives me a headache.  One of the latest discovered by AARP involved a woman who was offered a job that she could do from home.  They sent her a W-9 form and a check for $3,00.  After she deposited the check, she was instructed to transfer $1,900 via a Bitcoin ATM to “ensure their financial linkup was secure.”  After she made the transfer, her bank called her to inform her the check was fake.

Monterey, CA Elder Abuse Victims Send Their Tormentor To Prison

A stack of gold color coins and dollars on the table

John Lloyd Osborne IV, himself almost a senior at 64 years of age, was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of theft from an elderly person, one count of theft from a dependent adult, one count of forgery, one count of identity theft, one count of using fraud in the offer or sale of a security and one count of conspiracy to destroy evidence.  Back in 2006, Osborne solicited $250K from one elder victim to invest in a shell company that never did anything.  In 2010 and 2011, he used false pretenses to solicit $100K from one victim and $5,000 from another.  In 2015, he obtained power of attorney over a dependent adult who was unable to care for himself.  He refinanced the victim’s house and paid himself $250K.  Then in 2018, he sold the worthless company to someone else for $200K.  How brazen!  You would be amazed at how easily some seniors are scammed out of their life savings.

Pebble Beach, CA Elder Abuse Scams Available At AARP Website

elderly asian woman sitting with caregiver - Pacific Grove in Home Personal Care

Residents of wealthy pockets of Monterey County like Carmel, Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach suffer from being prime targets for scammers, and you would be surprised at the number of people who fall for them and lose thousands of dollars.  Although we try to alert our clients on this blog as we become aware of them, there are just too many to track.  One useful tool to get real-time info on the latest fraud is to go to the interactive Scam-Tracking Map.  Go to www.aarp.org/scammap  and enter your zip code and it will pull up a list of frauds which have been reported to law enforcement and the AARP Fraud Watch Netwok Helpline.

Monterey, CA Elder Abuse Alert : FCC Targets Robocall Scammers

The Federal Communications Commission is accelerating rules aimed at curbing robocalls, many of which are scams targeting senior citizens. The requirements are focusing on “gateway providers,” which are smaller companies that move calls between larger networks. Scammers often use what is known as spoofing, which automatically picks a fake number in your area code. The rules will not allow this, as they require verification that the originating phone number shows up on caller ID.