For those people young enough not to get AARP, please read this!
In the Sept issue - there was an article about a pilot who had his ID stolen.. Yes he gave his social and date of birth to the scammer!....What happened next is unbelievable. The scammer got a colon operation and it cost the pilot $44,000 for this operation. The pilot is facing foreclosure on his home, his credit cards were cancelled, and he has $500 to his name....
This is very popular to scammers because of Medicare and Medicaid to people 50 and over. Someones medical file and insurance data on the black market gets top $$. Please protect yourself by:
1) ask your doctors to make you copies of everything in your medical file (you have to pay though for this)
2) Keep them updated for a "paper trail".
3) Ask for an "accounting of disclosures" which shows who accessed your records
4) Review all correspondence from medical insurers including "this is not a bill" statements. Be aware of any charges for treatments you did not receive
5) Yearly, ask insurers for a list of all payments made in your name to uncover
cases where a thief changes your "billing address"
6) If you note errors or suspect ID theft call the billing office and request that your file be amended. Contact your medicare or medicaid offices at
www.cms.hhs.gov/regionaloffices) and your attorney general office in your state.
7) Monitor your credit report with the 3 reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, TransUnion.
8) If your state allows you to freeze your credit reports do so, New Jersey does allow it. Before someone can see your credit reports you will be notified first.
There is currently a bill in congress that may be passed though giving stronger
federal protection but will actually weaken some state laws that are strong and do protect consumers.
What I have done for years - I log any medical problem for each doctor I see I make a hard copy file and an E file. I also bought a special locking mailbox through Hsn Home Improvements catologue. It holds 2 weeks of mail and you have peace of mind when you are away.
p.s. - just to let you know - the scammer died....after the operation
Hope this helps...