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Baltimore County News

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Date: Oct 9, 2017

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 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 (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