BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Louisiana Department of Insurance Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) is urging senior citizens to be on the lookout for potential scams during Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period.

The Open Enrollment Period continues from now until December 7 and it’s the time for beneficiaries to make changes to their plans.

It’s also become a time when scammers increase efforts to con unsuspecting citizens out of money.

“We’re in the midst of Medicare Open Enrollment and a lot of people are getting bombarded with phone calls, TV commercials, emails and mail,” said SHIIP Director Vicki Dufrene. “If you are overwhelmed and confused, do not hesitate to call our office at 1-800-259-5300. We want to make sure everyone who is eligible for Medicare can get access to the care they need and be informed about their health care coverage options.”

Citizens can protect themselves from scams by doing the following:

  • Do not engage with unsolicited callers who want to talk with you about Medicare.
  • Do not give unsolicited callers your name, your Medicare identification number or Social Security number. Scammers could use this information to make changes to your plan without your knowledge.
  • If you do get an unsolicited call about Medicare, ask the caller for their name and license number, then call Medicare or SHIIP to report what you experienced.
  • If you discover that your plan has been switched without your knowledge, call SHIIP so that we can ask Medicare to change it back.
  • If you have questions about Medicare, call a trusted partner like SHIIP or the Senior Medicare Patrol.

If you have questions or are concerned you or a loved one may have been a victim of a scam, you can contact SHIIP at 1-800-259-5300 or the Senior Medicare Patrol at 877-272-8720, or visit www.stopmedicarefraud.org.