Medicare fraud is prevalent throughout the United States. Recently, the United States Government Accountability Office released a report describing the severity of Medicare fraud. “The report says that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that administers Medicare, estimates that last year some $60 billion of American taxpayer money, or more than 10 percent of Medicare’s total budget, was lost to fraud, waste, abuse and improper payments.”

With the prevalence of Medicare fraud throughout the United States, senior citizens are often targeted. Be vigilant with yourself and your loved ones by helping them fight Medicare fraud. ABC News reported there are over 23,400 reported fake addresses found on Medicare’s list of health care providers? Many scammers pretend to be physicians and provide false addresses which could be leading seniors to vacant buildings or lots.

Medicare fraud does not only impact the elderly, it impacts everyone. Medicare fraud results in higher health care and tax costs for everyone. To make a difference and put a stop to this fraud, people must be informed!

Here are a few ways to prevent fraud:

1. Keep your Medicare card secure. Your Medicare number should always be protected.

2. Do your homework. Know and understand exactly what Medicare is providing for you or your loved ones.

3. Understand the ins and outs of Medicare, such as, what can and cannot be billed to Medicare.

4. Be sure to do your research and do not hesitate to ask questions.

5. Nothing is ever “free.” Advertising “free” things is an easy way scammers commit Medicare fraud. Never accept any offers that advertise themselves as “free.”

When you find information that doesn’t appear correct on your Medicare statements, what can you do? After identifying red flags, you can do three things. First, call 1-800-MEDICARE to report the incident of scamming. Second, report it online with Medicare Fraud office. Third, call the Office of the Inspector