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When it comes to protecting your Medicare benefits from would-be thieves, stopmedicarefraud.gov offers some valuable tips on what to look out for. First, as with anything in life, beware of providers and companies that offer something for nothing. Whether it's a free wheelchair or free screenings, if anyone asks for your Medicare information in exchange for an offer you can't refuse, that's a good sign it's an offer you must refuse.
Another tactic fraudulent companies employ is telemarketing and door-to-door sales. No one likes to be badgered over the phone or on the front porch and if a salesman is particularly pushy or uses scare tactics to try to close the deal, these are red flags that you're not speaking to a reputable provider.
Keeping an eye out for predators and scams is the first step in protecting your Medicare benefits. Equally important is how you handle your information. When it comes to using the internet, make sure that your security settings are up-to-date so that sensitive information, such as your Social Security Number, Medicare number, and banking and credit card information are protected from online thieves. If you submit your personal information online make sure the website you're visiting is reputable. If the site looks outdated or unprofessional, think twice before spending time there, let alone entering your sensitive information.
In general, don't give out your Medicare information unless you are visiting a doctor, pharmacy or other approved medical service. Stopmedicarefraud.gov also cautions recipients from providing private information to companies who contact you uninvited. It's always better to be safe than sorry. If you receive any unsolicited or suspicious offer and want to verify the source, speak with a representative at Medicare by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or 1-877-486-2048 (TTY users).
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|