Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Join The Fight Against Fraud in Texas

Cowboy boots, Stetson hats, straight talk, manners, a wink and a smile is Texas, right?

That can also be the mark of a stereotypical con man. Earlier articles reported on securities fraud and other forms of "confidence theft" in Texas, particularly directed at the elderly.

Now Governor Rick Perry has announced  that Nov. 3-9 is Texas Fraud Awareness Week. With the announcement, Gov. Perry has directed the various agencies and departments under the executive branch to participate. Each office is showing how it works to fight fraud and how citizens can help, though reporting. In addition, each agency is also publishing tips on how best to avoid being victims of fraud, and how to spot it.

"I encourage all Texans to commit to recognizing and proactively fighting fraud, which will help safeguard businesses, investments and government funds from this growing problem."

Each year, private citizens are defrauded of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fraud also costs Texas taxpayers billions in fraud and theft from state-run agencies.

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services reports it has uncovered over $6 Billion in fraudulent activities directed at its department over the past 10 years.

The DHHS Inspector General, Douglas Wilson, stated:

“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.”

DHHS runs, among other programs, the "Lone Star EBT" program, part of the federal SNAP (foodstamp) program. DHHS also oversees Texas WIC programs and several healthcare initiative directed at impoverished or lower-income Texas citizens.

Complying with Perry's initiative, DHHS Director Dr. Kyle Janek had IG Doug Wilson compile some tips on how to help DHHS fight fraud,waste, and abuse.

  • 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.

Anyone suspecting fraud, waste, or abuse is encouraged to contact the state level authorities. In addition, this, and other media outlets are unafraid to expose and fraud, waste, or abuse connected to government officials, elected officials, or bureaucrats.