It can be hard to believe that anyone would want to steal your Medicare information. What are they going to do, go to the doctor and charge your plan for the bill? Well, technically that could happen. But it’s more likely that accessing your Medicare information will give a con man all the data he needs to steal your identity. From there, he can get credit cards or even take out loans in your name. Your Medicare information was just his way into your personal life.
Your Medicare number could also be used to charge fraudulent services or products that you never actually receive, funneling the payment to a fake medical products company.
Medicare fraud is unfortunately quite common for this reason. Follow these tips to protect your personal information.
Don’t give out information over the phone. Medicare will not call to enroll you, and they never ask identifying information over the phone unless you call them. If anyone calls wanting your Medicare number or other personal information, hang up the phone.
Keep your card in a secure place. If lost or stolen, someone could commit fraud with your information.
Beware of coronavirus “cures” or tests sold over the phone or online. Anyone trying to sell you a coronavirus treatment or test over the phone is a con artist trying to access your Medicare information. The FDA has approved one mail-order coronavirus test, but it is only available through your doctor.
Check your Medicare Summary Notices regularly. Report any claims that you don’t recognize, as this can be an indication that someone is using your Medicare number.
Beware of manipulative tactics. Remember that con artists often prey on fear; of coronavirus, of chronic disease, of financial setbacks, or even just the fear of missing out on a good deal. If it seems like someone is trying to make you afraid, it might be because they’re trying to get you to act without thinking logically or investigating whether they are even legitimate.
And of course, if you have questions about your Medicare plan, call your plan’s customer service line. They can help you obtain the medical services you need, safely and while protecting your information.