Yes, this post is geared mainly towards people on Medicare, but it’s good information you can share with a family member or friend regardless of your age.
Almost every Medicare beneficiary carries their red, white and blue Medicare card with them. This card shows their social security number plus a letter — also known as the Medicare Claim Number. It’s a good idea to make a copy of your Medicare card and then black-out the last four digits of your social security number. Laminate the new card and keep the original at home. It makes it far too easy for a thief to steal your identity if they obtain your driver’s license, credit cards AND your social security card. No one should have their social security number in their wallet or purse. If a provider needs your Medicare number, simply provide the last four digits.
There are plenty of Medicare scams happening at all times. It’s always best to take the extra steps to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate person if they ask for your Medicare Claim Number or any personal information. A lot of people are confused by the new laws pertaining to the Affordable Care Act and can easily feel they need to take action to stay in compliance — especially if someone on the phone gives the impression they represent a government agency or financial institution. Always err on the side of caution and don’t give personal information without being absolutely certain you are talking to someone who can be verified!
The Medicare site has some good information on this subject too. Speaking of websites and emails…never click on links that claim you need to provide important personal information. I am highly alert to this type of “phishing” scam, but I have come close to responding to an email or two that seemed very authentic. If you’re not sure an email is really from your bank or insurance company, etc., make a phone call to check. Again, always err on the side of caution.
Greg Sanders Peachtree Insurance Advisors 678-236-1600