Did you hear about the free medical testing down at Creekville Mall?

No. What're you talkin' about?

My doctor's office called...Well, I think it was my doctor's office. Who called me doesn't matter, all I know is I'm gonna get free medical testing and save a ton of money. My appointment is at noon.

Hmmm. I don't know about that. It just sounds too good to be true.

Your momma should've named you Debbie - for Debbie Downer. (chuckles)

(laughs) If we hadn't been friends for so long, I might be offended. Now, tell me more about this free testing.

Debbie, I mean Peggy, may be overreacting, but there's only one way to know for sure. She needs more information. Carla agrees to let Peggy accompany her to the appointment at Creekville Mall.

They walk through the doors of Quicky Medical Tests to find an open room filled with testing beds and room divider curtains.

"Free" medical care requires someone to pay, eventually.

Carla: (whispering) Now, I want you to be on your best behavior.

Peggy: (regular voice) What? Me? I'm just here to observe. And don't hand over your Social Security check.

Carla: (whispering) Hush.

A male in a white coat calls Carla's name. He asks for her picture ID and medical insurance card, which she hands over without question. After making a copy, he returns them along with a medical intake form.

Carla: Okay. He wants me to fill this out.

Peggy: Hmph. Lemme see that. It's asking for your medical history.

Carla: Of course, silly. All doctors ask for that.

Peggy: By the way. Did you remember to take your blood pressure meds this morning?

Carla: (sigh) Yes.

Peggy: So, what's the name of the actual test they're gonna do. It doesn't say here.

The same male calls Carla's name again.

Carla: It's my turn. I'll let you know.

She follows him to the next available exam bed.

Carla tells him she's not done with the form. He informs her she needs only to sign the bottom, which authorizes them to proceed. Quicky Medical Tests will fill in the rest to save her the hassle.

The medical attendant performs basic, noninvasive procedures on Carla. They take her temperature, test her reflexes, perform an eyesight test, and measure her blood pressure. After ten minutes, the attendant announces that they're finished.

Peggy: So, how was it?

Carla: Let's go.

What Happened?

Carla and Peggy just left a "rolling lab".

These temporary facilities pop up in shopping malls, mobile vans, retirement homes, or other public locations and offer free medical screenings to people with some form of medical insurance.

Carla unknowingly gave her medical plan and group number to a scammer who intends to bill her health care provider for unnecessary services. Her picture ID, medical insurance card, and medical intake form will be used to charge her insurance provider for services, including diagnosing her high blood pressure for which she is already receiving treatment. And if they don't pay, Quicky Lab Tests will send a collection agency after Carla for payment.

Avoid these types of health care scams by asking questions and staying alert. Speak with your doctor and health insurance provider before scheduling an appointment for "no-cost" medical services. The Federal Trade Commission also provides practical tips on how to keep your wallet safe from these fraudsters.

"Free" medical care requires someone to pay, eventually.