If you look at your caller ID and the call appears to be from your insurance provider or the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) but you pick up and hear a recording asking you to provide information or pay a sum of money urgently, it is likely not a legitimate call. You have been spoofed.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers can make any name or number show up on your caller ID, even those that seem to come from a government agency. During the holidays, these calls seem to increase in numbers. They also seem to follow any change in the healthcare landscape, or follow an election. Some common healthcare and insurance scams circulating today are:
- Charging you for help getting new insurance
- Medicare Cards
- Medical Discount Scams
- Insurance Agents
- “I can help you. Really?”
- “I’m from the government”
- Unemployment claims being filed in your name
For this reason, it is important to be vigilant about your personal and financial information.
If you are ever unsure whether you really are speaking to the company in question, hang up, dial the number provided by your benefits administration or human resources office and ask to speak to a representative directly. Never give out information before confirming you are on the phone with that business. The FTC says the government will not call you about your health insurance, and no one from the government will ask you to verify your Social Security Number or bank information. Some government agencies might send you a letter (for example, Medicare and the IRS), but they will never ask you to wire them money or give your credit card number. If someone calls, emails, or texts and says they’re from the government, it’s a scam.
You can protect yourself from spoofing and other phone scams. The Texas Office of the Attorney General has resources to learn more and report suspected fraud. Read more at “How to Spot and Report Phone Scams.”
You can also enroll in ID Protection with Experian through your Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas health insurance plan. The ID Protection plan includes:
- Credit monitoring – Monitors activity that may affect credit.
- Fraud detection – Identifies potentially fraudulent use of identity or credit.
- Fraud resolution support and identity restoration
- Up to $1 million in Identity Theft Insurance
You can proactively sign up for these services by logging into your Blue Access for Members Account, clicking “Identity Protection” under the Quick Links in the left-hand menu, and selecting “Start Adult Enrollment” or “Start Minor Enrollment”. The link will take you to Experian’s website where you will enter the activation code displayed, and fill out the rest of the form. You must re-enroll every year for security purposes. A new activation code will generate on your enrollment anniversary date each year.