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Good Question: Could cashing in on discount compromise sensitive information?

Pat Taney
Created: October 07, 2019 09:24 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Could cashing in on a discount put your sensitive information in the wrong hands? A certain card you may be using is causing some concern.

Pat Taney was asked to look into it for this week's Good Question report.

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Hundreds of people in our area use an insurance card to get a discounted ride despite being warned by their provider not to do that. 

Edward Rhodes is one of them. He uses RTS to get around, and because he's over 65, he uses his Medicare ID card to prove it to bus drivers.

"I show my card and that's it," he said. "They don't ask any questions." 

Medicare.gov warns people like Rhodes to keep the card guarded, asking them not to show it to anyone other than doctors and pharmacists; bus drivers aren't on the list.

Medicare warns the card contains sensitive information.

We brought the concern to RTS leaders. They say while Medicare wants you to leave the card at home, another federal agency doesn't.

"If they present us with a Medicare card to prove their age, we are required to accept that as a form of ID and that's a federal law, from the Federal Transit Administration," RTS spokesperson Tom Brede said. "They set forth this policy."

Brede went on to say that RTS doesn't necessarily require it. Riders can show other forms of ID instead.

"If you have a photo ID that has your date of birth, like a driver's license or a passport, those would be acceptable," Brede said.

But riders may not know that if they check the RTS website. It instructs those over the age of 65 to bring their Medicare ID. for all rides.

"Thank you for pointing that out," Brede said. "Through your inquiry and this customer's question, I did take another look at the website. We're going to take a look at the website to make sure it's perfectly clear especially for someone using a Medicare card." 

There's another step you can take, too. If you go to RTS headquarters on East Main Street and show proof that you're over 65, they'll create a discounted card you can use for all future rides.

If you have a question you'd like answered, email GoodQuestion@whec.com.


Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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