Medicare recently redesigned their website (www.medicare.gov) and there are a lot of new and interesting areas to explore. One that caught my eye was to a government website about Medicare fraud (www.stopmedicarefraud.gov).
Because of the confusion with Health Care Reform, there were various scammers out-and-about and one in particular dealt with the $250 “donut hole” reimbursement. The scammers were calling, introducing themselves from the Federal Government and telling you they need to send you your $250. What they were requesting was your bank account number.
What became apparent after reading through the Stop Medicare Fraud website, is how easy it could be for someone to obtain your Medicare or Social Security Number if you DO NOT protect yourself and how Medicare fraud can lead to IDENTITY THEFT.
Protect Yourself from Medicare Fraud
- ALWAYS protect your Medicare and Social Security Number.
- DON’T give anyone your Medicare ID if offering a free service. A Free service doesn’t require a Medicare ID.
- DON’T let anyone use your Medicare ID or your identity. It’s illegal and could cause you more problems.
- AVOID any provider of health care who tells you a service is not covered, but knows how to bill Medicare.
What’s Identity Theft? Identity Theft happens when someone uses your personal information to commit fraud or other crimes, without your consent. Visit www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/ to learn more about identity theft.
Being more aware of how to protect yourself against Medicare fraud also protects you from identity theft.
Again, keep your personal information safe, information like your name, Social Security, Medicare, or credit card numbers, bank account information.
Don’t give your information out over the web, or to anyone who comes to your home, or anyone who calls you. Only give personal information to doctors or other providers approved by Medicare. Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) if you aren’t sure if a provider is approved by Medicare. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
According to the Stop Medicare Fraud website, there are a few organizations that are safe to give personal information and they would include:
- Social Security
- Medicare health or prescription drug plans
- Your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
If you lose your Medicare card or it’s stolen, or if you need a new Social Security card, visit www.socialsecurity.gov, or call Social Security at 1‑800‑772‑1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778. If you get benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board, call 1‑877‑772‑5772, or visit www.rrb.gov.
Medicare Fraud can lead to Identity Theft --ALWAYS protect your personal information.