Identity theft: protect yourself

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.

Guard your card and protect your personal information

  • To help protect against identity theft, Medicare has mailed new Medicare cards to people with Medicare. Your new card has a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you, instead of your Social Security Number.
  • Don’t share your Medicare Number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by phone, email, or by approaching you in person, unless you’ve given them permission in advance.
  • Medicare, or someone representing Medicare, will only call and ask for personal information in these situations:
    1. A Medicare health or drug plan can call you if you’re already a member of the plan. The agent who helped you join can also call you.
    2. A customer service representative from 1-800-MEDICARE can call you if you’ve called and left a message or a representative said that someone would call you back.
  • 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 your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
  • Be familiar with how Medicare uses your personal information. 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 us at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY: 1-877-486-2048.

If you suspect identity theft, or feel like you gave your personal information to someone you shouldn't have, contact the Federal Trade Commission.

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