This month’s fraud fact from Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol deals with the unexpected knock on the door from someone trying to sell something.

Older adults often are targets of door-to-door salespeople who might use unscrupulous and dishonest sales tactics to sell you something you don’t need. These folks may be trying to sell a new roof after a hail storm, resurfacing on a driveway, a very good deal on satellite TV, a new or different Medicare plan, shoes for a diabetic, a screening test for a disease or something else. They often apply high pressure and maximum charm.

When it comes to repairs and improvements, get advice from relatives or friends, especially before you sign anything. Also shop, get quotes, and use licensed and insured contractors.

Do not be afraid to ask for credentials. Never pay in advance. Don’t give salespeople access to your bank account. Do not feel pressured, and take your time in making a decision.

When it comes to medical services, devices or insurance policies, door-to-door offers are not the recommended method of obtaining such services. Salespeople offering Medicare prescription drug coverage or Medicare Advantage plans are not allowed to do cold calls door-to-door. Do not give a door-to-door salesperson your Medicare information. They are not allowed to do Medicare business door-to-door, so they don’t need it.

The Missouri SMP always recommends starting with a trusted primary care physician for Medicare-covered tests and screenings. Protect Medicare information just as you would your Social Security number or bank account information. Don’t give it to someone who wants to give you a “free” test or medical device.

As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP at 1-888-515-6565.

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