Medicare recipients should be especially alert for scam artists during the upcoming open enrollment period that starts Friday, AARP cautions.

Medicare scams spike during the period, which ends Dec. 7, according to the organization that advocates for the older population.

People should be suspicious of anyone who calls and claims to be able to help them sign up for coverage, and they should turn down offers of free medical supplies or equipment in exchange for their Medicare number, AARP said.

People should treat their Medicare and Social Security numbers like a credit card number or a bank account number, and never give them to an unexpected caller or someone who makes an unsolicited request, according to AARP.

People who want information about Medicare coverage or enrollment can go to or call the Medicare hotline at 800-633-4227. People also can contact the North Dakota Insurance Department State Health Insurance Counseling program at 701-328-2440 or toll-free 888-575-6611.

People who think they have fallen victim to any type of scam can call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360 or go to

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