Is this a scam?

Got a letter today for Highmark Blue Shield, saying

The info they ask for are name and address (which they have, since they mailed me this letter), phone number (it’s listed), and the last four digits of my SSN.

In 2004, I had a PPO health plan that was, AFAIR, run through Blue Cross. (I always went for the PPO option, and I know it was through Blue Cross for at least some of the 14 years I was at that job, but don’t recall specifically if it was in 2004.) I left that job in 2006 and don’t think I have any paperwork left from that period – or if I do, who knows where the hell it is. Since it was a PPO, it was pretty much pay-as-you-go, no deductibles or reimbursements, in general. It’s of course theoretically possible they owe me money if I overpaid for something, but I’m not sure why they would.

When I Googled Highmark Blue Shield, I found a legit-looking website; when I searched their provider database, I came up with my primary care physician from that era.

Question 1: Does this seem possibly legit to anyone? $300 in free money would be quite welcome.

Question 2: If it’s not, what info would they be getting that could cause problems for me? They don’t want my full SSN, just the last four digits.

What am I missing here?


Yours suspiciously,


Is the check mentioned one of yours or is it one issued by the company?

Either way, I’d be very suspicious. They could easily re-issue a check if it’s theirs, and if it’s yours, it was never cashed and you still have the money.

If there is a contact phone number, try that. Otherwise I’d be leery as hell.

I’ve actually received a letter like this from my insurance company (in Alberta) because I had forgotten to cash a cheque and a year later they were trying to track it down. They did ask me to sign a declaration that I no longer had possesion of the cheque before they issued a new one, but this was all tracked through my unique ID with Blue Cross rather then my SIN (SSN in US).

If you are worried, call them. There should be a number on the letter.

Businesses do have to make an attempt to get you your “abandoned property” so it’s worth a call.

Ah, yes, there’s a phone number, toll-free and everything. M-F, 7:30-3:30, so I guess I’ll have to wait till Monday.

Better, look up the number on the internet and call them at that number. That avoids the possibility that the number on the letter is fake.

Try the states website:

Pennsylvania Treasury Dept.

Nope – but they haven’t turned it over to the state yet. They say they will if they don’t hear from me in 60 days.

Call Highmark Blue Shield at 1-800-345-3806 (from here) and ask them about the letter. That way you know you are talking to the real company – the number on the letter could be a fake.

Update: Called them this morning, and it’s legit. It dates back to when I broke my ankle in 2004 – I went to the ER, which turned out to be out-of-network, so they charged me the higher rate. Apparently it was later determined to be an actual emergency, so they’re reimbursing me the difference.

Woo hoo! Free money!

I suspect this might be the first thread in the history of the SDMB that began with the words “is this a scam?” and ended with the conclusion “no”.

Heh. Good point. :smiley:

Mine from 2004 was similar but I got $3K

Woo hoo indeed!

One thing I’ll add, though it doesn’t seem to pertain to the OP is that when I used to work in collections, we would often send out similar sounding letters, this was in hope to get back the SS# or the bank info, because if you had a bad debt we would want to trace the bank account to attach it.

So if you ever get a small check and don’t expect it, and you have bad credit, don’t cash it, 'cause it’s likely someone looking to attach your bank account

Twickster, I’m glad you called the insurance company directly before doing this because - while yours was legit - this exact same thing has been used as a scam lately. Especially with Assurity Life Insurance Company, a very similar tactic has been used to achieve the nefarious purposes you were worried about in the beginning.

Any time you get a confusing letter from your insurance company, do two things: call your personal agent, and then call the company to confirm what the agent says!