Baton Rouge – The Department of Health is alerting Medicaid recipients to be on the lookout for people posing as Medicaid workers in a scam to steal personal information.  Instances of this type of fraud, in which elderly citizens are frequently the target, are being reported in at least nine parishes.

The Medicaid Program Integrity office is receiving on average between five and 10 calls each day from Medicaid recipients living in Avoyelles, Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Orleans, East Carroll, Ouachita, Rapides and Washington parishes.  Scammers have reportedly been telephoning and going door-to-door posing as Medicaid workers and requesting recipients’ Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare numbers. 

Reports also say the scammers use the pretense of updating their Medicaid files.  They do not leave their names or they give false names and telephone numbers.  Many have been reported to have foreign-sounding accents.

It is also believed the fraudulent Medicaid workers could be seeking out people who are recipients of both the Medicaid and Medicare programs.  These recipients are lucrative targets to people who receive a large fee each time they convince a recipient to change their Medicare prescription drug plan. 

Medicaid Field Operations Director Don Gregory advises citizens to use caution when being asked for personal information over the phone or by someone at their door.

“People receiving these calls should not only contact us, but they should also call law enforcement,” said Gregory.  “When in doubt, or when a call is received from someone other than the usual caseworker, our clients should ask for the caller’s name and phone number and call the person back to verify they are Medicaid employees.”

LDH Secretary Alan Levine said this type of scam is a shameful abuse of our most vulnerable citizens.  “The Department of Health is committed to working with law enforcement and the Attorney General’s Office to hold these con artists accountable.  This fraudulent activity amounts to stealing from some of the poorest members of society, at worst, and underhanded manipulation at best.”

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell added, “The Attorney General’s Office stands ready to assist law enforcement and government agencies in any way we can to combat this type of fraud.”

Individuals who feel they have been contacted by someone posing as a Medicaid representative can contact the Medicaid Fraud Hotline at 1-800-488-2917.

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