Scam Alert: Scammers are billing for unneeded urinary catheters

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Medicare beneficiaries across the country are finding charges worth thousands of dollars on their Medicare statements related to urinary catheters that were not needed or received.

“Scammers are taking advantage of the Medicare program and billing for unnecessary products, which is hurting the program. This is also putting Medicare beneficiaries’ Medicare card numbers at risk and compromising their medical identities,” said Nicole Liebau, director of the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Resource Center. The SMP program, which exists in every U.S. state, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C., empowers and assists Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse.

SMPs started receiving complaints of urinary catheter claims in May 2023. They saw a handful of complaints per month until August 2023, when the number of complaints jumped 750%. Through the end of the year, SMPs continued to receive a staggering number of complaints, with the highest amount received in December 2023 to date.

The SMP program recommends that people regularly check their and/or their loved ones’ Medicare statements to make sure that Medicare wasn’t billed for items or services that were never requested or received. To learn how to readMedicare statements or get help with a compromised Medicare number, contact your local SMP. They can help you request a new Medicare number and report the claims.

The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is ready to provide you with the information you need to PROTECT yourself from Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse; DETECT potential fraud, errors, and abuse; and REPORT your concerns. SMPs help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries in the fight against health care fraud. Your SMP can help you with your questions, concerns, or complaints about potential fraud and abuse issues. It also provides information and educational presentations. To locate your local Senior Medicare Patrol, call toll-free 877-808-2468 or visit

Contact Information
Senior Medicare Patrol Resource Center
Nicole Liebau
[email protected]

SOURCE SMP Resource Center

Federal Trade Commission Scam Warning

The Federal Trade Commission is getting reports about people pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) who are trying to get your Social Security number and even your money.

In one version of the scam, the caller says your Social Security number has been linked to a crime (often, he says it happened in Texas) involving drugs or sending money out of the country illegally. He then says your Social Security number is blocked – but he might ask you for a fee to reactivate it, or to get a new number. He will ask you to confirm your Social Security number.

In other variations, he says that somebody used your Social Security number to apply for credit cards, and you could lose your benefits. He also might warn you that your bank account is about to be seized, that you need to withdraw your money, and that he’ll tell you how to keep it safe.

All of these are scams. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The SSA will never call and ask for your Social Security number. It will not ask you to pay anything. It won’t call to threaten your benefits.
  • Your caller ID might show the SSA’s real phone number (1-800-772-1213), but that’s not the real SSA calling. Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID. You cannot trust what you see there.
  • Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you in this way. Do not confirm the last 4 digits. Do not give a bank account or credit card number – ever – to anybody who contacts you by phone asking for it.
  • Remember that anyone who tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card, or send cash is always a scammer no matter who they say they are.

If you’re worried about a call from someone who claims to be from the Social Security Administration, get off the phone. Then call the real SSA at 1-800-772-1213.

If you have spotted a scam, then tell the FTC at

To learn more, you can go to Fake Calls about your SSN.


Charles Clarkson’s guest appearance on Aging Insights

The newest episode of Aging Insights is titled, Medicare Cards and More (Episode 83). On this program, Melissa Chalker speaks with Mary McGeary, Director of the SHIP Program at NJ Div. of Aging Services and Charles Clarkson, Project Director of Senior Medicare Patrol of NJ. Our guests remind us about all of the ins and outs of Medicare coverage, how to look out for Medicare fraud and of course, everything you need to know about your new Medicare card.