Steer clear of painkiller Scam, n.y. insurers urge
Consumer campaign advises residents, reveals how insurance fraud spreads addictive pain pills in New York
NEW YORK, N.Y., May 14, 2018 — Insurers are alerting New Yorkers how to avoid abusing addictive painkillers and falling victim to dishonest medical providers who make powerful prescription drugs too easily available. It’s a statewide outreach campaign by the New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud. Addiction and overdoses from prescription painkillers have reached dangerous levels in New York. Illicit profits from insurance scams are placing unneeded pain pills into vulnerable New Yorkers’ hands, helping fuel a statewide drug problem.
“Painkiller fraud is a prescription for tragedy,” goes the campaign theme. NYAAIF is targeting major cities with television ads, radio spots, billboards and social media. The campaign ads air in New York, Buffalo, Rochester and Albany. They run through June.
“Who thought these small pills could almost destroy my life,” a drug victim asks in an NYAAIF television spot. “I went from killing pain to almost killing myself. What I didn’t know was insurance fraud made getting these drugs easier.”
Watch for pharmacies that fill your prescriptions for fewer than the number of days or pills listed on the prescription, advises a special online report on painkiller fraud. Also, avoid insurance scams that traffic in pain pills. The tempting lure of profits disappears when you’re arrested and jailed, NYAAIF’s campaign warns.
Use pain pills only the way your doctor advises — and lock the pills in a cabinet at home, an NYAAIF consumer podcast also urges New Yorkers. Medical providers and pharmacists are getting rich from illegally providing unneeded painkillers to vulnerable consumers.
More consumer advice and scam alerts will spread virally on NYAAIF’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. Arrests and convictions of painkiller offenders also will drive home the consumer messages.
Painkiller fraud costs consumers plus auto, workers comp and health insurers tens of millions of dollars each year in New York, estimates NYAAIF.
“It’s a very personal issue. This a very human, human problem with somebody getting overprescribed,” NYAAIF chair Jim Potts says in the podcast “That’s just a terrible, terrible way to become an addict.”
NYAAIF is an alliance of more than 100 insurers in New York that have come together to educate consumers in the state about insurance fraud and its impact in New York
Click below to watch a 2018 special that aired on Newschannel 13 in Albany about the opioid epidemic. This special was sponsored in part by the New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud.
2017 Media interviews
Jim is on the Executive Board of the New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud and has been featured in numerous informative media interviews regarding insurance fraud. See below for those interviews.
Contact: Elijah Mercer NYAAIF@insurancefraud.org
Video contest challenges students to fight fraud in New York
Competition aims to educate Empire State consumers about insurance crime
NEW YORK, N.Y., Nov. 16, 2016 — Insurers are urging students to create a video that convincingly shows how all New Yorkers pay for insurance fraud. It’s a video contest sponsored by the New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud — with cash prizes.
Undergrad or grad students will create a short video showing how insurance fraud damages New Yorkers — and how to fight back. It will be two minutes max, and geared for social sharing.
Winner receives $1,000; runner-up gets $500. Videos are due February 20, 2017 @ 11:59pm. Students can sign up here: http://www.fraudny.com/video-contest/.
Student filmmakers should motivate New Yorkers of all ages with any of these consumer messages:
- Upstate. Downstate. Everyone is a victim!
- Insurance fraud — the crime you pay for
- Insurance fraud hurts everyone.
Students will hone their creative skills — and do a public service for New Yorkers everywhere. Students can be full time or part time.
Winners will be announced online in February. The filmmaker(s) will receive their awards during NYAAIF’s annual meeting in New York City on March 8, 2017.
NYAAIF is an alliance of 104 insurance companies in New York. NYAAIF was created in 1999 to educate consumers about the cost of insurance fraud and help consumers avoid becoming victims. For more information, visit www.fraudny.org.
Senior Scam Alert: Hang Up On cold callers exploiting new medicare cards to steal identity
Insurance fraud alliance warns seniors to stay alert to rapidly spreading phone scams.
ALBANY, April 24, 2018 — Just hang up. That’s the advice a New York anti-fraud alliance urges for seniors who receive cold calls from scammers trying to steal their identities by exploiting new Medicare cards.
Medicare is mailing new cards with random characters instead of SSNs to nearly 60 million seniors, starting in April. The security measure can prevent medical and financial ID theft by swindlers who steal seniors’ SSNs from the cards.
Yet con artists are cold calling seniors about the new cards, trying to steal their identities. Swindlers trying to pirate seniors’ SSN, bank account numbers and credit card information, warns the New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud.
That information lets scammers steal a senior’s medical and financial identities. The ripoffs can ruin their credit, drain their bank and Medicare accounts, and jeopardize their financial wellbeing.
Callers pretend they’re from Medicare, and request seniors’ personal identifiers. Among the pitches:
- You must pay for your new Medicare card now or else you’ll lose your Medicare benefits.;
- Medicare is updating its files and needs your bank and credit-card numbers.;
- Medicare is confirming your Social Security number before you can receive your new card.; and
- Medicare needs your bank information to send you a refund on your old card.
Watch for emails and texts delivering similar pitches.
Scammers prey on confusion about the new Medicare cards. Three of four seniors know little or nothing about the cards, an AARP survey says.
Six of 10 seniors think they must pay a fee. Half might not question a call from a claimed Medicare rep.
The New York alliance offers this advice:
- Just hang up. Medicare won’t phone you about the cards. They’re also free, and nor do seniors have to report or verify info to Medicare.;
- Sign up for an alert that Medicare has mailed your new card; and
- Destroy your old Medicare card when your new card arrives.
The new Medicare cards will better protect your identity without an SSN. With common-sense safeguards, you can let the cards do their work well.
NYAAIF is an alliance of insurance companies doing business in New York. NYAAIF was created in 1999 to educate consumers about the cost of insurance fraud, and help consumers avoid becoming victims. Visit www.fraudny.org.
CONTACT: James Quiggle, 202-393-7331; jamesq@InsuranceFraud.org
Inspector General named “Fraud Fighter of the Year”
March 16, 2015, New York, NY — Cited for an aggressive campaign to counter workers-compensation scams throughout the state, New York Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott was honored with the “Fraud Fighter of the Year” award by the New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud.
The award was presented during NYAAIF’s recent annual meeting held here.
NYAAIF Chair Jim Berrigan credited the IG’s leadership in compiling an impressive record of prosecuting wide-ranging workers-compensation cases. They included fraud by claimants, medical providers and businesses.
“The IG’s efforts put teeth behind our anti-fraud marketing campaigns in providing valuable deterrence though public awareness and vigorous prosecution,” Berrigan said in presenting the award. He also commended Scott for reaching out and working with insurers to identify fraud trends and develop strategies to counter them.
Click below to hear Dennis Jay explain the cost of insurance fraud to all New Yorkers in this interview with Joe Bartlett of WOR, New York City.
Click below to hear Ellen Melchionni talk about rate evasion and registration fraud in New York State during an interview with Anne McCloy, WRGB's noon anchor.