Paycheck Chronicles

Tricare Scams Abound - Be Careful

It seems that there has been a significant increase in scammers who are targeting military families who use Tricare health insurance.  These scammers use telephone contact to try to learn important personal information that they can use to commit fraud.

Where they are getting this information isn't known, but there has been at least one contractor data breach recently.  In February,  Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield reported that they were the target of an external cyber-attack. At the time the attack was reported, it was unknown who has been impacted or what information has been compromised. I haven't heard any updates on the situation since the original reports.  According to the information released, current and former members affected would be notified directly by Anthem and offered credit monitoring and identity protection services free of charge.

Fraud attempts can come in a variety of formats, but this is a common general scenario: You receive a telephone call from an unusual telephone number, and the caller claims to be from Tricare.  The caller asks for identifying information to verify that you are the right person with whom to talk. Sometimes they say it is about Tricare in general, sometimes they say it is about a prescription issue.  The callers often have enough information to make it seem as if the call is legitimate, such as your address or your doctor's name.  Reports are that the callers often have a significant accent to their speech.

If you are ever contacted by someone saying that they are from Tricare, be appropriately suspicious. If they ask you to provide any personally identifying information, do not cooperate. Tricare representatives will never ask for your social security number or any other important information.  Once you are off the phone, report the contact to the Military Health System at www.health.mil/ReportFraud.

It really concerns me that these fraudsters have somehow gathered enough information to be able to target military folks and provide information that makes it seem as if they are really calling from Tricare.  I don't know what hope we have for stopping this, but reporting the fraud is certainly better than doing nothing.

Be safe, folks - there are some not nice people out there!

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