Man gets box of unneeded medical braces; part of $1.2 billion scam
The FBI is calling it the biggest Medicare fraud they’ve ever investigated. That scam, called ” Brace Yourself, ” is now hitting people in Clinton, Iowa.
It happened fast. But how did it happen? That question is leaving Robert Turney feeling more than duped.
” Violated, ” says Turney .
He now knows he’s the victim of a Medicare scam.
A few months back, a package showed up on Turney’s doorstep, a package he didn’t order.
” We opened the package, see what they are. I said to my wife I don’t need these things, ” says Turney .
Inside were seven medical braces for different body parts shipped from a company called Crown Medical. All of them were delivered in one box with a grand total of $4,400.
Scam expert Randy Meier says the scam is being investigated by the FBI.
” This is nationwide, ” says Meier. ” $1.2 billion dollars is what the FBI calculated the loss at. ”
It all starts with a phone call to Medicare patients. The person on the other end of the phone tries to get your Medicare number and offers the person a free medical brace. Then a few weeks later, the person gets a package.
” The FBI describes quite an elaborate scheme involving call centers in the Philippines and Latin America, crooked doctors, sketchy medical supply companies, ” says Meier. The goal of the scheme was to generate revenue by billing Medicare, and it really didn’t matter if the product was of any benefit to the Medicare recipient. ”
Turney isn’t out any money. It’s his Medicare and insurance that picked up the bill. Still, you don’t want to help scammers steal taxpayer dollars.
” Be aware. There are a lot of phone calls asking you for your Medicare number, ” says Meier.
Never give out your Medicare number and always review your quarterly Medicare summary. Look for errors; and if you find errors, report them. Be on alert and brace yourself before the scam artists do it for you.