For Professionals: Medicare fraud and abuse

Easy Resources to Stop Unsolicited Mail, Emails and Telemarketing Calls

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Published: November 19, 2008

Beneficiaries can protect themselves from Medicare Advantage and Part D plan marketing misconduct by knowing the new marketing regulations, outlined in a recent article, and reporting incidents of misconduct to both 1-800 Medicare and their local Senior Medicare Patrol projects. Beneficiaries can also protect themselves from other kinds of insurance fraud, identity theft, and marketing scams by stopping unsolicited mail, email and telemarketing calls. See the resources listed below.

Stopping telemarketing calls

The National Do Not Call Registry gives people a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Once your number has been on the registry for 31 days, most telemarketers should no longer call your number. If they do, you can file a complaint online or by calling 1-888-382-1222. You can register your home or mobile phone for free.

Also, your registration will not expire. Telephone numbers placed on the National Do Not Call Registry will remain on it permanently due to the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007, which became law in February 2008. Read more about it.

See the Federal Trade Commission’s Q&A section on the National Do Not Call Registry for more information.

California may also have some of its own ‘do not call’ lists for residents. Check the list of California’s state, county and city consumer protection offices for information.

Stopping unsolicited mail and emails

The Federal Trade Commission recommends contacting the credit bureaus for stopping credit card solicitations specifically, and the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Preference Service for stopping other mail and emails.

Credit Bureaus

The credit bureaus have a toll-free number that enables you to “opt-out” of having pre-approved credit offers sent to you for 5 years. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688) or visit optoutprescreen.com for more information. When you call, you’ll be asked for personal information, including your home telephone number, your name, and your Social Security number (which is optional). Your information is kept confidential and is used only to process your request to opt out of receiving pre-screened offers of credit.

In addition, you can notify the 3 major credit bureaus that you do not want personal information about you shared for promotional purposes — which helps eliminate unsolicited mail. Write your own letter or use the sample letter (see below) to limit the amount of information the credit bureaus will share about you.

Send your letter to each of the 3 major credit bureaus:

Experian
901 West Bond
Lincoln, NE 68521
Attn: Consumer Services Department

TransUnion
Name Removal Option
P.O. Box 505
Woodlyn, PA 19094

Equifax, Inc.
Options
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123

Direct Marketers

Mail

The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Preference Service lets you opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies for 5 years. When you register with this service (for a $1 fee), your name will be put on a “delete” file and made available to direct-mail marketers. However, your registration will not stop mailings from organizations that do not use the DMA’s Mail Preference Service. To register with DMA’s Mail Preference Service, go to dmachoice.org.

Email

The DMA also has an Email Preference Service to help you reduce unsolicited commercial emails. To opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial email from DMA members, visit dmachoice.org. Your online request will be effective for 5 years.

See the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection for more information.

Sample letter to credit bureaus

View printable version in new window.

Date:

To whom it may concern:

I request to have my name removed from your marketing lists. Here is the information you have asked me to include in my request:

FIRST, MIDDLE & LAST NAME (List all name variations, including Jr., Sr., etc.)
____________________________________________________

CURRENT MAILING ADDRESS
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________

PREVIOUS MAILING ADDRESS (Fill in your previous mailing address if you have moved in the last 6 months.)
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________

SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER (optional)
____________________________________________________

DATE OF BIRTH
____________________________________________________

Thank you for your prompt handling of my request.

____________________________________________________
Signature

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