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Bogus Medicare Drug Cards Already Surfacing

Seniors Urged To Read Fine Print

June 2, 2004

The Medicare prescription card program has only just begun, and already unapproved copycat cards are surfacing that provide few benefits or consumer protections.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a consumer group based in San Francisco, says older people should be wary of any drug card sales pitches, especially since Medicare isn't allowing legitimate cards to be marketed door-to-door or through unsolicited phone calls.

Seniors should always look closely at the fine print and know that approved cards will have a government seal on them. All other cards are not approved.

The bogus cards are, in many cases, nothing more than ploys for identity theft. Identity thieves are using prescription discount cards as lures to get their hands on all sorts of private financial information that can be used to take out credit cards and other types of debt.

So, the foundation says consumers should never share personal information with anyone claiming to sell a Medicare-related product.

"Seniors should read the fine the print of drug discount card contracts and watch for fraud and identity theft," said Jerry Flanagan, of the foundation. "Unfortunately, unscrupulous businesses are preying on seniors looking for prescription drug discounts.