In honor of National Report Medicare Fraud Day on Sunday, September 12, the FBI Phoenix Division is encouraging the public to be aware of health care fraud, and actions you can take to help prevent yourself from falling victim.
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), health care related fraud saw a 110% increase in victims nationally from 2019 to 2020, rising from 657 victims to 1,383. The reported losses saw an even more significant increase, rising from 1.1 million dollars in 2019 to 29 million dollars in 2020.
Health care fraud is a scheme that attempts to defraud private or government health care programs. Schemes may include offers for fake insurance cards, stolen health information, and various other scams involving medications, supplements, or diversion practices.
Health care fraud can be committed by medical providers, patients, and others who intentionally deceive the health care system to receive unlawful benefits or payments. These scams are often initiated through spam email, Internet advertisements, links in forums/social media, and fraudulent websites.
The FBI suggests these tips to help protect yourself from health care related scams:
- Protect your health insurance information. Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals.
- Beware of “free” services. If you’re asked to provide your health insurance information for a “free” service, it’s most likely not free and could be fraudulently charged to your insurance company.
- Check your explanation of benefits (EOB) regularly. Make sure the dates, locations, and services billed match what you actually received. If there’s a concern, contact your health insurance provider.
If you believe you have been the victim of a health care related scam, please contact FBI Phoenix at (623)466-1999. Victims are also highly encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI at ic3.gov.
For more information on health care fraud, visit: https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/health-care-fraud