Medicare card of little help in safeguarding identity

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Here a conundrum. You diligently protect your Social Security number so you won become the next victim of identity theft. But, if you a senior, you likely carrying your Medicare card in your wallet and it contains in large type your Social Security number.

Carole Pierce of Albuquerque says she has tried to leave her Medicare card at home and instead provide the number, but was simply not acceptable. reason medical providers ask to see the card is because it your proof of medical insurance. But the Privacy Rights Clearing House suggests you do this: Photocopy your Medicare card and cut it down to wallet size. scannable ids

Then, blacken with a marker or cut out some of the digits on your Social Security number. The last four are best to remove because they are the most unique under the government numbering system, says Paul Stephens, the clearing house policy and advocacy director.

You probably will need to show the real card the first time you visit a doctor, Stephens says, but the office will likely photocopy it and keep it on file, so you shouldn need to produce it for subsequent visits.

As for unexpected emergencies, know that emergency personnel cannot refuse you care if you do not show an insurance card. You need to come up with billing information when you leave the hospital, but that doesn mean you won receive care in the meantime.

There have been congressional efforts to replace the numbers on Medicare cards, but Medicare officials have said it would cost at least $800 million. Also, doctors and other health care providers nationwide would have to update their records. In other words, don expect changes any time soon.

The old survey scam has reared its ugly head. In case you haven heard of it, it goes like this:

You get an email supposedly from a well known store (Macy or Walgreens, for example) that tries to get into your computer by telling you your reward points are about to expire. The subject line might say something like, Reward Points are Expiring. Claim Now! or eBalance Points are Expiring Soon! Scannable Fake ID email will say you have been chosen to complete a survey about your recent customer experience and that you will receive at least $100 or more in points if you do so, according to an alert from the Better Business Bureau.

Do not click the link to the survey. You are about to be tricked.

link may lead to a real survey, which upon completion, prompts you to purchase spammy products such as diet pills and wrinkle cream, the BBB alert says. In other versions, the form requests banking and credit information, or it might download malware onto your computer.

The first thing to remember is that it never a good idea to click on links in unsolicited emails. Here, courtesy of the BBB, are some ways to spot suspicious emails that get past your spam filter:

The email seems to have information about you, but you never signed up for it. Scams often pretend to be personalized just for you, but they are actually blast emails. If you never signed up for emails from a company, you shouldn be receiving them.

There is a push for you to act immediately: Scammers typically want you to act fast before you had time to think.

Always a dead giveaway: typos, strange phrasing and bad grammar.

Hover over URLs to reveal their true destination. Typically, the hyperlinked text will say one thing, but the link will point somewhere else. Best Fake ID websites Make sure the links actually lead to the business official website, not a variation of the domain name.

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