Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

When you sign up for Medicare, you are taking steps to ensure your health needs can be met.  However, at the same time, you should make sure you are taking the necessary steps to protect yourself from those who would take advantage of you and your enrollment. 

For instance, a real risk to those unaware can be identity theft.  Identity theft occurs when your personal information is used by someone else to commit crimes, including fraud.  To protect yourself from identity theft, keep your personal information safe.  Don’t give out things like your social security, Medicare, or credit card numbers to anyone who is not your doctor, a verified health care provider, someone who you know to work with Medicare (like your SHIP), social security, or a plan approved by Medicare.

Make sure, also, that the person you are giving the information to really is the person they claim to be.  For instance, if someone calls or visits you, selling Medicare-covered products, don’t give them your personal information.  Also, if someone calls you, asking for personal information (like credit card number or Medicare number) and claims to be from a Medicare plan, be wary.  Unless you are a member of a specific plan, a plan can’t ask you for any personal information. 

If you suspect you may be a victim of identity theft, call the Fraud Hotline at 1-800-447-8477, or the Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338.

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