Texas residents on Medicare should be careful to guard their identification number and any personal information carefully. If this data falls into the hands of certain parties, they can use it to charge Medicare for unwanted and unnecessary medical equipment, which they then allegedly ship to unsuspecting consumers, who often feel puzzled and inconvenienced at receiving back, knee or shoulder braces that they did not order.

Earlier this month, federal authorities started cracking down on an alleged conspiracy to commit Medicare fraud. Individuals arrested as part of the reported scheme include people working in overseas call centers, medical supply companies and doctors. It is not clear to what extent the doctors allegedly involved knew about the scheme or profited from it. Authorities claim that the alleged Medicare fraud scheme has cost the country more than $1.2 billion.

Upon receiving two shipments of braces for the shoulder, knee and back that they did not order, an elderly couple in Cleburne, Texas, first felt surprised, then confused and then angered. They received two separate packages from two different companies in Florida, neither of which the couple had reportedly dealt with previously or even heard of before. They note, however, that the paperwork sent along with each package appeared remarkably similar.

When the couple contacted the companies to complain about the unwanted shipments, each responded by sending them shipping labels to allow them to return the items at no charge. However, they felt angry and frustrated at having personal information apparently compromised, as well as the response they received when they alerted Medicare about the matter, which reportedly refused to take any action for 30 days to see if the organization received a credit for the payment. The couple’s frustration prompted them to contact the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI in regard to the alleged fraud.

With the government cracking down on alleged Medicare fraud, it becomes more important for those facing related charges to safeguard their rights. Hiring an attorney for legal counsel may be helpful in this regard.