Medical identities are 20 to 50 times more valuable on the Dark Web. Due to the cost and sensitive nature of healthcare in the U.S., criminals are willing to pay top dollar for complete medical records. Not only could this theft have financial implications, but it can have life-threatening consequences. Thieves can use your health insurance or Medicare number for doctor’s visits, getting prescriptions, and submitting fraudulent claims. Think about the next time you go in for a treatment and your medical transcripts or medications are wrong, due to illegal use of your medical identity.
Why Medicare Recipients are Targeted So Often
Medicare is an essential Social Security benefit for seniors. As disheartening as it may be, the elderly often become the target for scammers and identity thieves. In an AARP survey, more than half of respondents said they wouldn’t be suspicious if they received a call from Medicare to verify their SSN or ask for banking information. As a rule, Medicare will never contact individuals by phone. All communication is sent through snail mail.
3 Steps for Safeguarding Your Medical Identity
Medicare ID numbers were synonymous with Social Security numbers (SSNs). Thankfully, that is currently being phased out. Medicare recipients will have new cards mailed to them automatically between April 2018 and April 2019. But don’t think that criminals and medical identity thieves haven’t taken notice!
It’s expected that 44 million cards will be sent via the U.S. postal service. For the record, mail theft is one of the primary, low-tech crimes that can lead to identity theft. Follow these three steps to keep your Medicare benefits safe:
- Make sure your address is accurate. Your new card will be mailed automatically to the address associated with your Social Security number. Verify that your correct address is on file, and update if necessary by visiting the Social Security Administration web site.
- Find out when your new card will be mailed. New Medicare cards are being progressively rolled out. You can sign up to receive an email as soon as your card goes in the mail.
- Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old one. Since your old card will have your SSN on it, it can still be used to compromise your identity.
Consider Medical Identity Theft Coverage
With IdentityForce’s full suite of top-rated identity protection services, we’ll monitor all of your medical records, SSN, and other vital pieces of information that could be used against you. Learn more about why IdentityForce is the best identity theft protection solution for providing 100% peace of mind. Get started with a Free Trial today.