The Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is advising consumers to be wary when they receive requests for end-of-the-year giving. Charities use the phone, face-to-face contact, e-mail, and the internet. However, so do the scammers.
While the Missouri SMP focuses on preventing, detecting and reporting Medicare fraud, the agency also attempts to help make consumers savvy in all aspects of their spending.
Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission offers to keep consumers safe from scammers:
• Ask for the charity’s exact name, address, and phone number.
• Research the organization online – especially with the word “complaint(s)” or “scam.”
• Call the charity to confirm that it has people soliciting donations.
• Ask if the caller is a paid fundraiser. If so, ask the name of the charity they represent and the percentage of donations that go to the charity.
• Keep a record of donations.
• Never send cash. Pay by check – made payable to the charity – or by credit card.
• Never wire money to someone claiming to be a charity. Scammers often request donations to be wired because wiring money is like sending cash: once you send it, you can’t get it back.
• Do not give your credit or check card number, bank account number or any personal information until you’ve thoroughly researched the charity.
For more information on charities and scammers, visit To learn more about Medicare fraud and scams, visit Report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol at 888-515-6565.