Community Voices

Crime Watch: Readers share experiences with Medicare fraud, other scams

The emails regarding Medicare fraud continue to come in and I want to share a few more with you. If it happens to one person, it’s happening to others, and by sharing and reading others’ experiences we can all learn. Below are two scams that even I had not heard about.

Dear Carmen:

Thank you so much for your informative Crime Watch columns. I've solved the issue of having my Social Security number on my Medicare card by copying the original card, whiting out the last four numerals on the copy, then copying the now incomplete copy. I even laminate the new card and carry it in my wallet. I've never had a healthcare provider (as they now are known) turn it down. Of course, this doesn't solve the problem of the Social Security number being circulated in the provider's office after I tell them the last four numerals.

— Ferne, Coral Gables

Dear Carmen:

As usual, I read your column this morning regarding Medicare fraud. This is a huge problem in our area where large number of seniors reside.

This just happened to me. I went to the pharmacy to get medicines for my husband and was surprised to receive a big package. Because he takes several medicines, I didn’t check the contents of the bag. At home we realized that some were for me after a visit to my doctor. He didn’t tell me he was prescribing any new medicines, so I wasn’t aware. It turned out that now some pharmacies, without asking approval from the patient, just pack a three-month supply of each prescription to increase their sales.

Even if my co-payment was small, it certainly cost more money to Medicare. With a weak stomach, I probably won’t take any of them and they’ll go to waste as they can’t be returned to the pharmacy once they leave the store. More disturbing is that most health plans have approved that system, although, I was told, the pharmacist is required to ask for the patient’s approval. But, as I always say, most people try to take advantage of seniors, because many aren’t aware of their rights or are too weak to fight for them.

— Great information, Elisa.

Last week, I wrote about different crimes that have been happening across the county and one of them was regarding the tag on your car. I received 17 emails from readers who not only didn’t have their own tag, but many were missing their stickers. So please check your tags and stickers. One writer suggested to Super Glue the screws that hold the tag and another to place Super Glue on the sticker part all over it. Interest thought. I may do that myself.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to, or call her at 305-470-1670.