This Medical Supply Scam Could Have Devastating Consequences

( – Senior citizens are the group most targeted by scams, and it’s not just the well-known false “warnings” about losing Social Security benefits. In Michigan, Attorney General Dana Nessel says at least one medical device company is shipping unnecessary body braces to the elderly and then having the nerve to charge them for it.

Nessel recently brokered an agreement to stop Med Leaf Supply Company from doing business in her state after a citizen complained. The woman claimed that someone posing as her doctor called her on the phone regarding an unnecessary brace that the woman supposedly needed. After tracing the call back to Med Leaf, the company is no longer allowed to operate in Michigan.

While this particular complaint was one of a kind, Nessel said her office has received numerous complaints from residents who have been “targeted by similar operators.” She said medication and medical equipment scams happen all the time, and they cost the Medicare system (that is, American taxpayers) “tens of millions of dollars every year.”

Some of these scams involve what you might call “cold mailing.” Companies ship medicine, or medical devices, to consumers who don’t need them and were not prescribed them. Then, they tell the consumer that he or she is liable for the bill. Anyone who is not wary, or elderly people with issues of mental decline, might pay these fraudulent bills.

  • The Inspector General’s office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has tips for seniors and others to help avoid scams. In addition to cons involving medical supplies, scammers also lure targets by claiming to offer non-existent grant money. But to get the money, the scammer tells the target he has to disclose personal information, or pay an upfront fee.

The DHS advises the following:

  • Never pay money to anyone claiming to be from the government. Legitimate government agencies will not call or contact you on social media requesting money.
  • Don’t give out personal information over the phone to someone who calls claiming to represent a government department.
  • Keep a sharp eye out for spoof websites. Scammers will use domain names that look almost exactly like legitimate government sites. Read carefully. Real government sites end in .gov

The National Council on Aging also has information about the most common con games aimed at parting seniors from their money.

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