Understanding how to help clients avoid scams and fraud, especially when it concerns their insurance coverage and financial wellbeing, is prudent of you as their dependable, go-to insurance resource and advocate.
Let’s take a deep dive into what these scammers may be up to, and how they use television, email, and phone calls to take advantage of innocent folks who tend to be above 60 years of age.
Know the Tactics
In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports $2.3 billion was lost due to scams. Typically, a fraudster pretends to be a trusted person or a familiar business, and they have common strategies when it comes to what medium they’re using.
By learning the avenues scammers use to target your insurance clients, you’re in a better position to educate them and prevent the worst from happening.
These methods include, but aren’t limited to, TV commercials and emails, while the most popular method remains phone calls and text messages. To stay updated on current tricks, check for reports of Medicare and health insurance fraud in the news and through communications by your FMO and insurance carriers.
If you receive word of new scam tricks or specific targeted campaigns your clients should be aware of, then tell them! Communicating preventative news allows you to serve them and reinforce their trust in you as their agent.
Independent agents sell products, but insurance advocates take the extra step and serve communities.
Tactic #1: TV Commercials
Medicare TV commercials are a common tactic used to get people to change plans. These commercials are designed to trick clients into believing one thing only to have the prices switch once they’ve signed up.
To help clients avoid scams and guard them against these commercials, keep in mind these three points:
- These commercials are by insurance agencies, not by Medicare.
- These agencies do not have anything beyond the plans your clients already have access to.
- If an agent changes their plan with you without your knowledge, they risk losing you as their agent. Warn them!
TV commercials are best handled by ignoring them. If an ad looks particularly misleading, instruct your clients to be aware and to call your team if they have any questions. Serving your clients by addressing their concerns is your best bet to avoid having one of them get caught in a scam.
Tactic #2: Emails
You’ve got mail! Actually, it’s junk mail.
Junk emails toting big claims about this or that regarding Medicare plans are another problem your clients may face. Here are a few rules of thumb to remember when advising your clients against Medicare scams:
- Ignore any emails that aren’t from your contact or their insurance companies.
- Look out for any misspellings. Usually, as professionals, we check our grammar, punctuation, and spelling. However, scam centers across the world aren’t as clean or proficient.
- Be wary of clicking any suspicious links. Avoid links that don’t look like a company’s actual website URL.
- Let them know you will never ask for their login or personal information over email.
Like TV ads, these emails may say Medicare has new benefits including dental, vision, and hearing. This is not true and is meant to mislead readers. Remember, these emails can’t offer anything beyond what is already offered to your clients.
Tactic #3: Phone Calls
The most popular method for scammers to reach people is by the phone. Often these callers will ask you to volunteer personal information such as your email address or an identification number, like your Social Security or Medicare numbers.
Remain the best insurance agency and help clients avoid scams. Keep in mind these reminders to teach them:
- Medicare will not call you unprompted.
- Social Security will not call you unless you call them first.
- Never offer personal information to someone you do not have a professional relationship with.
- The IRS will never call you about notices, they will only mail you.
If your clients are receiving scam phone calls and text messages, urge them to not give out their information, or reply at all. They should report their case and block the contact.
This is another opportunity for you to address your clients’ needs and concerns, so make sure they know you’re a resource for advice!
Need help reaching your clients and establishing relationships? With a local Medicare FMO serving independent agents in North Carolina and many other states, we’re your best bet for doing so!
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