The government started sending out new Medicare cards, launching a massive, yearlong effort to alter how 59 million people enrolled in the federal health insurance program are identified. Historically, Medicare ID cards have been stamped with the Social Security numbers of members. But that has been problematic: If a wallet or purse is stolen, a thief can use that information, along with an address or birthdate on a driver’s license, to steal someone’s identity.
The new cards address such concerns by removing each member’s Social Security number and replacing it with a new, randomly generated, 11-digit “Medicare number” (some capital letters are included). It will be used to verify eligibility for services and for billing purposes going forward.
Source: Orange County Register and www.medicare.gov
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.
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
The idea of home invasion is scary. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to prevent, and keep yourself safe in a home invasion situation.
1. Plant Thorny Bushes around the windows.
These are not only visual deterrents, no one wants to climb through bushes that can cause them physical harm, they can also collect DNA from the invader which can be used to track him down.
2. Keep the outside of your house well lit.
Home invaders do not want to be seen. If the exterior of your home is well lit they cannot make it inside with out being caught by the light.
3. Hang a bell on the door.
This will signal you if someone is entering your home.
4. Designate a room in the house as a Safe Room.
Make sure everyone in your house knows where to go if someone were to break in. This room should have a land line phone, a flashlight, and something that could be used to defend yourself i.e. Baseball bat. Mount the doors to this room so that they swing out; they are harder to breach than those that swing in.
5. Keep pepper spray or even bug spray by your bed.
This will allow you to defend yourself quickly by taking away the intruders ability to see.
These are just a few things that you can do. Remember to always call 911 if an intruder is attempting to enter your home.