If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, then you should have received the new Medicare health card via mail recently. The latest Medicare cards feature a crucial change which is intended to help beneficiaries protect themselves from Medicare identity theft.
Identity Theft: What Is It?
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Identity theft is considered a huge problem particularly in the U.S. As per the survey conducted by The Harris Poll, close to 60 million people in the country have experienced it till now and around 15 million customers fell for it in the previous year alone.
Data breach is considered a primary source for this problem. Valuable info like the victim’s full names, addresses, & at times, even their credit card & social security numbers might be leaked.
But, according to FTC (the Federal Trade Commission), fraud related to tax or employment makes-up for almost 34 percent of cases in identity theft. Here, the criminal uses the victim’s SSN in order to file a tax return or for employment purpose.
Reasons Behind the Introduction of New Medicare Health Cards
Criminals require your SSN so that they can file a tax return. Using the old Medicare cards, it was easily possible for them to get the victim’s SSN for the purpose of identity theft.
So, every time someone lost their Medicare card, there was a high possibility that the person’s SSN could fall into a criminal’s hand.
According to the new act under Medicare, it has become essential to remove the SSN from Medicare cards so as to protect the identity of Medicare beneficiaries. Instead of including SSN, the new cards come with MBI also known as Medicare Beneficiary Identifier numbers as a replacement.
This is a unique number which is randomly created & assigned to the beneficiary. The MBI number features 11 characters that combine both letters as well as numbers.
Since every single MBI is unique and allocated to only one recipient, it’ll help identify the person via a computer software thereby preventing identity theft that has become so common especially among seniors citizens with Medicare in the United States.