By Ryan Johnson
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
6:30 PM CST, January 20, 2012
The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about a new scam aimed at Medicare recipients.
Customers are being contacted by phone. The caller states that they want to send the consumer a "new medicare card."
They then go over the customer's personal information and eventually ask for a checking account number.
The BBB says this is not a legitimate Medicare phone call. Medicare says they don't contact the consumer regarding new cards, the consumer needs to contact them.
The BBB says these type of calls are opportunities for identity thft. IF you've received phone calls like this or have fall victim to this scam you are asked to contact the Office Inspector General with Medicare. The hotline is 1-800-447-8477. You can also contact the BBB office at 1-800-856-2417.
The BBB also wants consumers to keep these tips in mind:
Verify a source before sharing information
Don’t give out personal or medical information on the phone or through the mail unless you’ve initiated the contact and you’re sure you know who you’re dealing with. Be wary of offers of “free” health services or products from providers who require you to give them your health plan ID number. Medical identity thieves may pose as employees of insurance companies, doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, and even government agencies to get people to reveal their personal information. Then, they use it to commit fraud, like submitting false claims for Medicare reimbursement.
Safeguard your medical and health insurance information
If you keep copies of your medical or health insurance records, make sure they’re secure, whether they’re on paper in a desk drawer or electronic in a file online. Be on guard when you use the Internet, especially to access accounts or records related to your medical care
If you are asked to share sensitive personal information like your Social Security number, insurance account information or any details of your health or medical conditions on the Internet, ask why it’s needed, how it will be kept safe, and whether it will be shared. Look
for website privacy policies and read them: They should specify how site operators maintain the accuracy of the personal information they collect, as well as how they secure it, who has access to it, how they will use the information you provide, and whether they will share it with third parties.
If you decide to share your information online, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a URL that begins “https:” (the “s” is for secure). Remember that email is not secure.
Treat your trash carefully
To thwart a medical identity thief who may pick through your trash or recycling bins to capture your personal and medical information, shred your health insurance forms and prescription and physician statements. It’s also a good idea to destroy the labels on your prescription bottles and packages before you throw them out.
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