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Baltimore County News

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Keyword: identity theft

By Sherry Kolbe, Manager, State Health Insurance Assistance Program, Baltimore County Department of Aging

Medicare is mailing new cards to help protect you from identity fraud. Fraudsters are always looking for ways to get your Social Security number. The new Medicare cards remove Social Security numbers to make them safer.

The new cards will have a new Medicare number that’s unique to each individual. The new card will help protect your identity and keep your personal information more secure. Your Medicare coverage and benefits stay the same.

Medicare will automatically mail your new card at no cost to the address you have on file with Social Security. There’s nothing you need to do. If you need to update your official mailing address, visit your online my Social Security account.

Three Action Steps

Once you get your new Medicare card, take these three steps to make it harder for someone to steal your information and identity:

  1. Destroy your old Medicare card right away. Shred it or cut it so no one can see your Social Security number, even in the trash or recycling.
  2. Use your new card. Doctors, other health care providers and plans approved by Medicare know that Medicare is replacing the old cards. They are ready to accept your new card when you need care.
  3. Beware of people contacting you about your new Medicare card and asking you for your Medicare number, personal information, or to pay a fee for your new card. Treat your Medicare number like you treat your Social Security or credit card numbers. Remember, Medicare will never contact you uninvited to ask for your personal information.

For Information

For more information about your new Medicare card, visit go.medicare.gov/newcard. You can also visit Medicare.gov for tips to prevent Medicare fraud.


By Louise Rogers, Baltimore County Police Department

Thousands of goods are bought and sold without incident each year on Craigslist, neighborhood online yard sales and other online commerce sites. Still, not all people using these resources are on the “up and up.” Especially during the commerce-heavy holiday season, the Baltimore County Police Department reminds citizens to exercise caution when meeting someone to complete an online transaction.

Police agencies across Maryland and the country have documented theft, robbery and, in a rare case, murder, involving meetings to complete online transactions. The suspects place bogus ads in an attempt to catch unsuspecting victims.

Tips for a safe transaction

Baltimore County Police Department provides the following tips to help you stay safe when making that deal:

  • Do not assume the person you’re meeting is a friend. He or she may seem harmless, but you do not know this person. Don’t let your guard down when exchanging goods and money.
  • Never meet anyone at your home or workplace. You don’t know this person.
  • Insist on meeting at a well-lit, busy place. 

Protect your information, protect yourself

  • Gather as much information as possible about the buyer/seller including, but not limited to, telephone numbers, identifying numbers or avatars provided by the service. 
  • Use cash or a secured/proxied form of payment such as PayPal. We discourage use of credit or debit cards because both expose you to identity theft. Avoid displaying large amounts of cash; this attracts predators to the transaction.
  • Keep your personal details to yourself. Don’t give your address, date of birth or the names of family members to the other person in the transaction.
  • Bring a cellphone, and, if possible, bring another person with you. If you have to go alone, let other people know where you are going and when.

Finally, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, cancel the deal.


by Sherry Kolbe, SHIP Manager, Baltimore County Department of Aging

Medicare fraud wastes billions of dollars each year and creates higher health care costs for everyone. Medicare scams also are one of the leading causes of identity theft. Here are some things you can do to remain vigilant and avoid becoming a victim.

Brush up on common scams.  Visit sites like Identifytheft.gov to find out about recent scams and learn the warning signs of identity theft.

Keep personal information confidential.  Never give your personal information to anyone unless you have initiated the contact and know who you’re dealing with. Remember, neither Medicare nor the Social Security Administration will ever call you. They will contact you by mail, not phone.

Always check your Medicare Summary Notices and Part D Explanations of Benefits. Carefully review these notices. Look for any signs that Medicare has paid for visits, services or drugs you never received.  Keep a careful record of doctor visits and other appointments and check it against your notice.

Shred unneeded documents. Documents that contain personal identifying information should go through a shredder before they go into the recycling bin. 

Order your free credit reports. Order at least one free credit report each year from AnnualCreditReport.com (1-877-322-8228). If you think your identity has been stolen, report it to the Federal Trade Commission. If loans or credit cards have been falsely opened in your name, call the bank or credit card company directly.

If you suspect you or someone in your care is a victim of Medicare fraud, report it to Medicare at 1-800-633-4227, the Baltimore County Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 410-887-2059, or the U.S. Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-HHS-TIPS.

You are the first and best line of defense against Medicare fraud.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017