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‘Free’ COVID-19 tests are likely a Medicare scam

Staff writer

Marion resident Don Molleker is no doubt the target of scammers.

Since late March, he has received five envelopes containing four boxes each of COVID-19 test kits.

He never ordered the test kits, but Medicare is being billed for them.

In late March, he got two packages from Cipher Labs, 900 Paramount Pkwy, Ste B, Batavia, IL.

The boxes say the test kits expired May 26.

A mailing label on the envelope read: “Rapid antigen kits at no cost to you. To opt out, please call or text (773) 823-0530.”

In May, two more packages came from Unic Labs, 4202 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL.

The UNIC labs packages didn’t say the receiver could opt out.

His statement from Medicare shows Unic Labs billed Medicare $200 and was paid $94.08.

Last week, another package came from Advanced Clinical Lab, 204 Boombah Blvd, Yorkville, IL. The package was addressed to a different name at Molleker’s address.

Advanced Clinical Labs’ website displays three reviews of the company. All say it is a scam.

Molleker wonders how the companies sending the unsolicited test kits got his Medicare information.

“I just got a letter from one of my medical providers that they had a data breach,” he said. “I’m going to check with them and see if this company was on their list.”

According to warnings issued by numerous U.S. attorneys, the Justice Department is investigating scams that have bilked millions from Medicare by stealing ID numbers of seniors in multiple states and ordering tests they didn’t want.

Complaints about unordered tests are on the rise, they warn.

Kansas Senior Medicare Patrol asks seniors to report any unsolicited tests they get. The agency can be reached at (800) 432-3535.

Fraudulent Medicare claims can affect seniors’ coverage, the Federal Trade Commission warns.

AARP advises people targeted by scams to report the incident to local law enforcement.

The Health and Human Services Department urges people who receive unsolicited test kits to notify the office of the inspector general (www.oig.gov/fraud/report-fraud) or call (800)447-8477.

Last modified Aug. 10, 2023

 

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