Outsmarting scammers

Discover how to keep yourself safe when buying health insurance.

02 Dec 2019

It’s Medicare open-enrollment season, which means scammers are now on the lookout for vulnerable Americans to take advantage of. Ellen Segriff, Head of Wealth Management Americas Privacy, Cyber and Information Security for UBS, recently sat down for an interview on the UBS On-Air podcast. Here’s her advice for staying safe from cyber criminals while managing your Medicare needs.

Key takeaways

  • Look for red flags, such as people who claim to be official Medicare agents or tell you that you must purchase a prescription drug plan.
  • Never give out your Medicare number, Social Security number or other personal information to someone who calls you.
  • When in doubt, hang up and call the publicly listed phone number for your Medicare provider.

Common Medicare scams

Medicare scams come in many forms, and they’re not always easy to detect. “You need to be cautious and vigilant against these scams,” says Segriff.

Keep an eye out for red flags, like people who claim to be official Medicare agents. “There’s no Medicare sales representatives,” explains Segriff. “So hang up the phone.”

The Medicare prescription drug plan, known as Medicare Part D, is voluntary. “Anyone who says you must join their prescription plan, or you’ll lose your Medicare coverage, is scamming you,” Segriff warns. “So hang up again.”

If someone calls you on the phone and asks to confirm your information from Medicare, you can be sure it’s a scam. Medicare agents already have your information on file. Someone who calls to get your address, or other identifying information, is likely looking to use that information for identity theft.

What you can do

Don’t give out your Medicare number, Social Security number, address or other personal information over the phone. There is no benefit to you in continuing a conversation with someone who is likely a criminal, so you should protect yourself by simply hanging up.

This advice goes beyond Medicare. If you are, in fact, contacted by your bank or another institution, they won’t ask for personal information. They’ve reached you on the number they have on file and thus don’t need to verify your identity.

If you are in doubt of who is on the other end of the phone, hang up and call a publicly listed phone number for Medicare (or your financial company). That way, you can feel confident that you are speaking with the right people if there are any questions about your account.

Work with UBS to learn more

UBS employees work around the clock to protect your money. Listen to the recent UBS On-Air podcast with Ellen Segriff to hear her perspective on keeping your information safe during Medicare open-enrollment season.

If you have any questions about your financial security, contact your trusted UBS advisor today to learn more.

Your Medicare coverage is important beyond the open enrollment period. Know your Medicare options, Listen to the podcast featuring Bill Stapleton, Chief Executive Officer of Health Plan One and Ainsley Carbone, CIO Total Wealth Strategist Americas.


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Discover how to keep yourself safe when buying health insurance.


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