Last month Medicare announced that one of their contractors had been hacked and the personal information of 612,000 Medicare beneficiaries were stolen. The security breach put Social Security numbers, birth dates, driver’s license numbers, health insurance claims, medical history notes, prescription information and other personally identifiable information at risk.
Anyone whose information was compromised in the breach will be notified by Medicare and offered two years of free credit monitoring. However, even if your data weren’t stolen, this incident reminds us all of one stark reality – we have little control over much of our personal data.
So many companies and government entities have our personal data and so many have been hacked in the past that the most practical thing for people to do is assume that your information is out there and take the necessary precautions. Two things you can do to protect against ID fraud are to check your credit reports regularly for suspicious activity (www.annualcreditreport.com), and be sure that you are using strong and unique passwords for all websites and storing them securely.
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
Report scams to local law enforcement. For help from AARP, call 1-877-908-3360 or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.
This story is provided by AARP Pennsylvania. Visit the AARP Pennsylvania page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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