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RACINE, KENOSHA COUNTIES — Scammers are targeting Medicare recipients here and elsewhere with fake offers for free COVID-19 tests, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC reports that these scams use telephone, online and TV advertising to attempt to convince Medicare recipients to share their billing information. In turn, the recipients are billed for fraudulent charges.

The FTC advises Medicare recipients of the following:

  • While the federal Medicare program does cover eight free COVID-19 tests a month, no one from Medicare will call you directly with such an offer. If someone, claiming to be from Medicare, calls with such an offer, hang up.
  • Medicare beneficiaries can obtain free COVID-19 tests from participating pharmacies. Find a partial list here.
  • Never give your Medicare or other personal information over the phone to anyone who calls out of the blue, asking for it.
  • Fraudulent charges may affect your Medicare coverage. Although the money doesn’t come directly out of your pocket, you may not be able to get the medical equipment you need. Check your Medicare Summary Notice to be sure you (and Medicare) are only being charged for services you really got.
  • If you are a Medicare recipient and believe you were a victim of this COVID-19 test scam, please file a report directly with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General online or at 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).
  • To find out more about Medicare fraud visit or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Also, read the FTC’s article on medical identity theft.

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...