By Colleen Lockhart
Identity theft is a serious crime that happens when someone uses your personal information without your consent to commit fraud or other crimes. Personal information includes things like your name and your Social Security, Medicare, or credit card numbers.
To help protect its customers, Medicare has developed new Medicare cards with a Medicare Number unique to each person instead of Social Security Numbers. Be smart and guard your card. Don’t share your Medicare Number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by phone, email, or in person. Only give personal information like your Medicare Number to doctors, insurers acting on your behalf, or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare like the Ohio Health Insurance Assistance Program (OSHIP).
If you join a Medicare plan, the plan will let you know how it will use your personal information. If someone calls you and asks for your Medicare Number or other personal information, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
If you suspect identity theft or feel like you gave your personal information to someone you shouldn’t have, contact the Federal Trade Commission online at ftc.gov. Source: www.Medicare.gov. Geauga seniors can schedule an appointment at the Department on Aging to review Medicare options through Nov. 30 by calling 440-279-2130.
Lifelong resident of Geauga County, Colleen Lockhart lives in Huntsburg with husband, Richard. Children Jeff (Erika) Lockhart and Emily (Jay) Gainer, grandchildren Jack and Ann Lockhart and Rose Gainer. Retired from Geauga County Commissioners. She is a member of many community organizations.