CHICAGO (CBS) — If you’re in pain, a free back or neck brace sounds like a good deal, but it’s really part of a multi-million dollar scam by many different companies that are ripping taxpayers off.
CBS 2’s Pam Zekman investigates this new scam that we’re all paying for.
Donald, who asked the 2 Investigators not to use his last name, gave out his Social Security number over the phone to someone he thought was from Medicare. He then received a call telling him he might qualify for a knee or back brace at little or no cost.
“I’m fine. I don’t need a brace,” he said with a laugh.
Medicare still paid more than $3,000 to a medical supply company for five braces that he didn’t need, and never received.
“I feel violated is what I feel,” Donald said.
Over the course of four weeks, Mabel Fowler received 10 braces from five companies; back braces, arm braces, leg braces, braces for every limb. She didn’t order any of them.
Medicare has paid $4,389 for the braces.
All this begs the question, why didn’t Medicare suspect something was wrong before approving payment for all these braces for just one person in four weeks?
“Currently, the medical supply phone scams are the biggest one in the state, and across the country,” said Travis Trumitch, with Age Options, a senior citizen advocacy group that helps report Medicare fraud.
Medicare is now investigating. Zekman will have more on how this scheme works and how big it is tonight on CBS 2 news at 10 p.m.