Well, Medicare Open Enrollment is only a few weeks away, and we all know what that means. As sure as the sun coming up in the morning, identity thieves will be targeting Medicare recipients for their personal and financial information, and then running up huge bills in their names before anyone is the wiser. In particular, Medicare recipients in retirement-heavy states like Florida, Arizona and Nevada should stay on guard for Medicare scams.
Last year’s popular scam worked this way: the identity thief would call up a Medicare recipient, claiming to work for a Medicare HMO such as Humana or CarePlus. The thief would then claim that the Medicare recipient was owed a refund and ask for their birth date, Social Security, bank account and Medicare numbers to arrange the refund. Of course, instead of arranging any Medicare refund, the thief would then take out a new credit card or debit card in the senior’s name which they’ll quickly max out.
Guard Your Personal Information. If you are on Medicare, remember to guard both your Medicare and Social Security numbers, as well as your bank account, birth date, and other personal information, as if they were actually credit cards. If you can open a credit card account with the information, it’s as good as a credit card, so be careful.
Unsolicited Medicare Calls are Scams. Medicare explicitly forbids health insurers from cold-calling seniors, so unless you’ve previously contacted a health insurer, anyone who may call you out-of-the-blue about your Medicare is almost certainly a scam. Be alert!
Don’t Give Out Your Medicare Number Over the Telephone. Be very suspicious of anyone asking for your Medicare number over the telephone. Whether it’s in return for a prize or gift, in connection with a survey, or even to enroll in a health insurance plan or prescription drug plan, be very suspicious of anyone who contacts you and asks for your Medicare number or other personal information.
Review Your Medicare Bills. Even if you’re not aware of it, someone may have been able to steal your Medicare information. Check your Medicare information regularly to make sure that there aren’t any changes that you don’t recognize. If there are changes that you don’t recognize, contact your provider to find out if it’s a mistake. If it’s not a mistake, contact Medicare.
Have you been the victim of an identity theft scam? Tell us about it!
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