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Medical ID Theft / Fraud Information

What Is Medical Identity Theft?

Medical identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information (like your name, Social Security number, or Medicare number) to obtain medical care, buy drugs, or submit fake billings to Medicare in your name. Medical identity theft can disrupt your life, damage your credit rating, and waste taxpayer dollars. The damage can be life-threatening to you if wrong information ends up in your personal medical records.

Deter: Protect Your Personal Information

  • Guard your Medicare and Social Security numbers carefully. Treat them like you would treat your credit cards.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who offers you free medical equipment or services and then requests your Medicare number. If it's free, they don't need your number!
  • Do not let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare ID card or your identity. It's illegal and it's not worth it!
  • If your Medicare card is lost or stolen, report it right away. Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) for a replacement.

Detect: Watch Out For These Common Fraud Schemes

  • Just walk away if someone approaches you in parking lots, shopping centers, or other public areas and offers you free services, groceries, transportation, or other items in exchange for your Medicare number.
  • Simply hang up the phone if someone calls you claiming to be conducting a health survey and asks for your Medicare number.
  • Do not let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare ID card or your identity. It's illegal and it's not worth it!
  • Don't give information to telephone marketers who pretend to be from Medicare or Social Security and ask for payment over the phone or Internet. They may want to steal your money.

Defend: Check All Your Medical Bills, Medicare Summary Notices, Explanation Of Benefits, and Credit Reports

  • Were you charged for any medical services or equipment that you didn't get?
  • Do the dates of services and charges look unfamiliar?
  • Were you billed for the same thing twice?
  • Does your credit report show any unpaid bills for medical services or equipment you didn't receive?
  • Have you received any collection notices for medical services or equipment you didn't receive?

Report Medicare Fraud and Medical Identity Theft

  • If you spot unusual or questionable charges, contact your health care provider. It may just be a mistake.
  • If your complaint is not resolved by your provider, report the questionable charges to Medicare.
  • If you suspect Medicare fraud, contact the Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General.
  • If you think someone is misusing your personal information, contact the Federal Trade Commission.

Who to contact

Access OIG's Medical Theft Brochure

To access the OIG's Medical Identity Theft brochure, click here. This high-quality, double-sided brochure contains all of the information found on this Webpage.

To print the brochure, use 8.5 by 11 inch paper and the two-sided feature on your printer. Then fold the print-out in half so the page that begins "FIGHT BACK" is on top.

The brochure is also available in languages other than English:

In addition, to access the text of the brochure (without graphics), click here.

Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services | 330 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20201