Keep Your Medicare Card Safe


by Mary Jane Stern

Did you know that one of the easiest ways for your identity to be stolen is if you lose your Medicare card?

Everyone receives their Medicare card when they turn 65 years old.  But, your Medicare number is tied directly to your social security number – something identity thieves just love.

Keep It Safe

First thing you need to do is to keep your Medicare card in a safe place.  It is recommended that you do not carry your card with you.  What if you should lose your wallet?  There’s your social security number.  All it takes is one identity thief.

Instead, make a copy of the card and blackout the last 4 digits of the number and keep that with you.  This just shows someone that you are covered by Medicare should you need any type of medical help.

What you should do is make a few extra copies of your card and keep those copies in a safe place too.  Now should you need to visit a doctor, you can just hand them the copy of your Medicare number.  You don’t have to hand them your original card and forget to get it back. Also, you are not carrying your original card with you.

Identity theft is on the rise and senior and elderly populations seem to be a prime target for the thieves.

Look for the Red Flags

The Internet is another area for identity theft. I try to make it a rule if and when I visit a site never to give out important or personal information if I don’t know who they are.  The “Red Flags” should come up when someone asks for your social security number, Medicare number or your bank account number.

Is Someone “Phishing”

What the site or an email could be doing is “Phishing” pronounced “Fishing.”

From Wikipedia: In the field of computer security, phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public.

No matter where you are – at your local grocery store or on the Internet, please protect yourself from identity theft.