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Medicare Drug Plan Lures Identity Thieves

By Charles Essmeier

The 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.

 Among 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 help:

·  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.

©Copyright 2006 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 .

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Charles_Essmeier

Please tell your parents or grandparents about this, so they won't become a victim of identity theft.

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