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2013-11-14

Texas state officials raise fraud awareness

Contributed

Adult diapers are delivered to a resident who never ordered them, a man says he needs your benefit card and PIN number for your free phone, a flyer on your windshield offers you a free pedicure to bring your child in for free dental care. All of these scenarios have occurred in Texas and constitute fraud. Fraud, waste and abuse in government programs cost Texas taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Much of it can be stopped if people learn how to recognize it and report it.
The Health and Human Services Office of the State Inspector General shares these consumer tips for combatting fraud, waste and abuse in health and human service programs:
• Beware of anyone who offers free transportation or gifts in exchange for a visit to their clinic or office.
• Be wary if you receive health care services or equipment that you did not request or that seem unnecessary.
• Be suspicious if anyone contacts you asking for personal information such as a Social Security number, Medicaid number or Lone Star Card Personal Identification Number (PIN).
• Anyone asking for such personal information in a parking lot, via email or over the phone could be trying to pull a scam and should be reported.
• If you're not sure that the person calling you is really from the state, please call us at 2-1-1 to confirm.
• Report suspected waste fraud and abuse. If you know of someone doing something wrong with government benefits report them. Or, if you suspect you have been the target of a scam, report it to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-436-6184, or to your local law enforcement agency. Reports are confidential.
The Office of Inspector General combats fraud, waste and abuse through audits, reviews and investigations of the use of state or federal funds. Since its creation 10 years ago, the office has recovered or avoided more than $6 billion in erroneous, fraudulent or wasteful payments in the state's health and human services programs. "These recovered funds are sent directly back to the state's health and human services programs, allowing them to be used to help more Texans in need of services," said Doug Wilson, Inspector General for HHSC.