complicated new Medicare prescription drug plan for senior
citizens has created an opportunity for criminals to obtain
personal information of use in identity theft crimes.
the many problems facing senior citizens is that of trying to pay
for their necessary medications while trying to live on a fixed
income. This problem drew the attention of Congress, which passed
a prescription drug plan last year that was designed to help older
Americans with their drug bills. The plan is a complicated one
that allows Americans to enroll in a government-sponsored plan or
any one of a number of other plans that are administered by
private corporations. The plan, while well intentioned, has drawn
criticism for being expensive and for being complicated, as many
senior citizens have been unable to determine how to best make use
of the program.
The fact that the program is
complicated has opened the door for identity thieves to
take advantage of the program's participants. The thieves have
been calling senior citizens on the telephone, posing as
representatives of companies that can help people enroll in the
plan that is best for them. The caller then asks for personal
information from the victim in order to better assess how to help
them. There is no help forthcoming; the thief is simply using the
call as an opportunity to steal the victim's name, address, Social
Security number and credit card number. Once they have that, the
thieves can go about obtaining loans, credit and merchandise in
the victim's name.
This identity theft
scam can be easily avoided, as can most such scams that make
use of the telephone or e-mail. Here are a few tips that may
· Americans who are eligible
for the Medicare plan should have received a pamphlet in the mail
that outlines which plans are available in their area. If you have
questions about the plan, you can use the contact information
listed in the pamphlet.
· Authorized providers are
not permitted to contact customers via e-mail. Any attempt to do
so should be considered to be part of a scam.
· If someone does call you
to discuss the Medicare program, ask them to send information via
mail. Any legitimate company will be happy to do so.
· You should never provide
personal information, such as a credit card number or Social
Security number, to anyone who solicits such information via
e-mail or telephone. The new prescription drug program is a
complicated one. The prospect of possibly having personal
information stolen just makes it worse. Any senior citizen who is
contacted out of the blue by a company claiming to represent an
agency that can help with the Medicare drug plan should be
suspicious. If you have further questions, you can visit the
Medicare Website at www.medicare.gov.
by Retro Marketing. Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro
Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including
End-Your-Debt.com, a site devoted to personal
bankruptcy, debt consolidation, establishing credit and credit
counseling and HomeEquityHelp.net, a site devoted to information
regarding mortgages and home equity loans .
Please tell your parents or grandparents about this, so
they won't become a victim of identity