Five Ways to Protect Yourself During Open Enrollment

As the new health insurance Marketplaces get underway, scammers have begun to surface, ready to take advantage of those who may not realize they are giving personal and financial information to fraudulent people.
Here are 5 tips to protect your identity and finances during Open Enrollment season:

1. Trust your instincts.

If something does not feel right, then it probably is a scam. When someone calls you on the phone claiming to be a government employee and needing to know your personal information, such as asking for you to verify your Social Security number or requesting credit card information—stop! No government worker will call you asking for this information. Do not give this information to an unknown person, especially over the phone.

2. Keep Medicare cards private and in a safe place.

Treat your Medicare card the way you would your Social Security card—in a safe place.

3. Discern legitimate mail from scam mail.

Mailings and letters from government agencies, such as Medicare and Social Security, will have an official government seal and/or logo on it. Keep this mail, don’t overlook it. Other flyers, letters, or postcards claiming to be from “Medicare” that don’t have these seals/logos should be set aside. Do not respond to them unless you can verify that they are legitimate.

4. When in doubt, call them out.

When someone calls you and asks for personal health or financial information, do not feel obligated to respond. Ask them for their name, number, address, and the name of their agency/company. Tell them that you first need to verify who they are representing. Someone who is legitimately trying to assist you will provide you with the information and understand your need to be a safe consumer.

5. Report it.

For every one person who reports a fraudulent scam, there are likely 10 other people who experienced the same thing but either were afraid to speak up or didn’t know who to call. Beyond telling a friend or a family member about your experience, it is important to report when you believe that you have been the victim of identity theft or a scam to an official, including the police and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), so appropriate action can be taken and to help prevent others from becoming victims. You can file a complaint online, using the FTC Complaint Assister.