Between robo-calls, spam emails, and junk mail it can seem like there is a never-ending stream of attempts to get your attention and your information. Sometimes scammers may use Medicare as a ploy to hook you in. We want to help you be on guard, and take the steps to protect yourself and your information.
It’s as important to keep your Medicare information private as it is to keep other personal numbers and data private. Use the same care with your Medicare card as you use with your credit card. Keep it in a safe place, and never share the number with anyone except your doctor’s office or a confirmed insurer or Medicare representative.
You will never receive an unsolicited phone call or email asking for your Medicare information unless it’s from a plan you are already a member of. Among the ploys that scammers may use to try to get your information are offering free medical services in exchange for the information, pitching plans that aren’t actually part of Medicare, or threatening a loss of coverage if you don’t comply.
If you do get an unexpected or unsolicited call, never give out your information – always take the time to contact Medicare, your doctor, or even us here at Southern Maine Retirement Services to help figure out if a request is legitimate – and if it’s not, how to report the fraud attempt. Taking the time to do this is much easier than dealing with the aftermath of identity theft that can occur if your Medicare information falls into the wrong hands.
While we’re all often inundated with paperwork, bills, and other items needing our attention, it is important to take the time to review your medical bills and Medicare coverage information. Keep an eye out for these kinds of errors on your bills, receipts or service summaries:
- Repeat charges for an appointment or service you only had once
- Charges for services or supplies you never had
- Dates that don’t match up with what you have on your calendar
If you notice these kinds of aberrations on documents you receive from your doctor or Medicare, contact your provider to let them know and see if there’s an explanation for the discrepancy. If there is not an explanation and you suspect fraud or that your Medicare information is being used by someone else for services, contact Medicare to report it at: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
For more information about identifying and preventing Medicare fraud, visit here.