What’s in Your Wallet?

If you have a Medicare card in your wallet, you should think about making a copy of it and carrying that instead. Your Medicare account number is your Social Security number, so you are at risk of identity theft if it is found or taken by someone malicious. But of course, you need to carry your Medicare card because the ID serves as the proof of insurance. In order to protect your identity, you must make a photocopy of your Medicare card and black out or cut out the last four digits of the ID numbers. This way, if you need to use your Medicare card, you can give them the photo copy and provide them with the last four digits verbally (if able). According to AARP, the one or two additional letters or numbers after your SSN/ID is used to identify the type of beneficiary you are. But they have stated that it does not matter if you leave in or decide to remove those ending letters and numbers on your photocopy of the card.

If you have any credit cards, debit cards, licenses, etc., you should also think about making photocopies of them, and keeping those copies at home. It helps to write down the phone numbers you need to call in case you misplace the cards or if they are stolen. In addition, you should go through your wallet and see what you are carrying around every day. Chances are, you don’t need to be carrying all the cards in your wallet. It helps to have an organized wallet and an organized record of your photocopies, so that you know what to do if you misplace them or if they are stolen.

Resources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/hints-from-heloise-leave-home-without-this-card/2016/01/14/cd01e808-b576-11e5-a842-0feb51d1d124_story.html?utm_term=.b03f139c3e41

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/hints-from-heloise-copy-this-to-cut-down-theft/2016/02/12/a659a534-cb7d-11e5-88ff-e2d1b4289c2f_story.html?utm_term=.5b61b937a7f0

http://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/info-07-2012/medicare-card-identity-theft.html

4 Steps to take if you think your Identity has been stolen or compromised

1) Call and Place a Fraud Alert with one of the three consumer reporting companies.

These are the companies that deal with your credit score. Placing a Fraud alert with one of these companies will allow you to be notified before a new account is opened or the status of an existing account in your name is changed.  If you contact ONE of these three companies they are required to contact the other two. A Fraud Alert also entitles you to FREE copies of your credit reports.  You may click on any of the following links for the contact information for: Equifax, Experian, Transunion.

2) Close/Cancel Open Accounts

Close all accounts you fear might be tampered with. If you suspect any tampering has occurred before you had the opportunity to close the account use the ID Theft Affidavit to dispute any new unauthorized accounts or transactions.

3) Contact Law Enforcement

File a report with your local police in the community the theft took place. Make sure they provide you with a copy of the report or the number of your report. This is important when dealing with your creditors. It will show proof that the transactions being disputed have been reported to authorities.

4) Contact the Trade Commission

File your complaint with the FTC. They maintain a database of Identity Theft cases that us used by law enforcement agencies for investigation. The Toll-free Hotline is 1 877-ID THEFT or 1 877-438-4338