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3-On Your Side: Diabetic Supply Scam

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- They're being pressured to accept medical supplies that in many cases they don't want or even need! 3 On Your Side has a warning for seniors and their families. Consumer reporter Jim Donovan tells us this involves telemarketing calls and the promise of free diabetes testing supplies.

These scammers often ask for your Medicare card number or Social Security number. Armed with that information they can run up thousands of dollars in fraudulent insurance bills and in some cases they could even steal your identity.

Jacqueline Jefferson is certain of at least one thing. She says, "I'm not diabetic." But that didn't stop telemarketers from calling her multiple times a week pitching diabetes products that she didn't need or want. According to Jacqueline, "First is was a free monitor, and then you would receive the supplies to go along with the monitor, then came the cookbook." All she would have to do is provide her insurance information and the supplies would be delivered to her door.

"What we try to impress upon people not be afraid to say no and simply hang up the phone," says Rebecca Nurick with the Senior Medicare Patrol at CARIE, The Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly. She says, "What they're not telling people is that once those individuals get the beneficiaries Medicare number, Medicare can be billed for just about anything. What is important to note is that if Medicare pays for something that you don't need, it may not pay for something you really do need in the future."


Jacqueline hangs up the phone when the telemarketers call and believes that other seniors should too. She says, "It affects us all, our premiums go up, our co-pays go up because of these scams and a lot of seniors on fixed incomes can't afford these increases."

On some occasions telemarketers or even door-to-door salesman have been known to identify themselves as being with Medicare or Social Security. Neither agency will ever call or visit you to sell you something or to get your personal information. If some one does call you or visits you asking for that information, hang up or shut the door and file a complaint with the Senior Medicare Patrol in your state. Here is a link to assist you:

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