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How can I protect myself from medical-related identity theft and fraud?

Scam artists are constantly inventing new ways to steal personal information that could give them access to the victim’s financial assets or government/insurance benefits. To prevent identity theft:

  • Guard your health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security numbers in the same way you protect your credit card numbers. Never give these numbers to a stranger on the phone, in an e-mail or on a website.
  • Don't carry your health insurance card all the time. Just put the card in your purse or wallet when you know you might need to use it at a doctor’s appointment or pharmacy. Or carry a photocopy of the card with all the identification numbers except the last four digits blacked out.
  • Decline all offers of free medical equipment, health services, groceries or gift cards that require you to provide your insurance information. If the offer is truly free, your ID numbers aren't needed.
  • Ignore people who try to sell you a new insurance policy by saying they are government officials, or that the plan they're offering is approved by the government.
  • Government officials will not be calling you about any of the new health insurance programs or any part of your Medicare coverage.
  • Report to authorities anyone who claims that they are "with the government" and wants your money or your personal information. Ignore anyone who uses the sales pitch that "you have been preapproved" for insurance because of the new health care law.
  • Routinely review the statements you receive from your doctor, hospital, pharmacy, insurance company or Medicare in order to identify mistakes.
  • Look through the statements for medical services you didn’t receive, repeat billings for the same procedures or claims for services your doctor, hospital or pharmacist never provided.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.