Have You Received Your New Medicare Card?
Now that new Medicare ID cards are being sent out, there are more opportunities for criminals to steal money and vital information from you. Ironically, the new Medicare cards, which are meant to reduce theft of social security numbers by replacing them with an 11-digit code, has opened the door for new scams against seniors.
Social Security is issuing the new cards between April 2018 and April 2019. You may have already received your card. Whether you have received your Medicare card or not, there are ways to protect yourself from being scammed.
The scam begins with a scammer calling, emailing, or approaching you, stating that to receive your new Medicare card, you will need to make a payment, state your social security number, or give other vital pieces of information, like bank account or credit card numbers. They may state some personal information about you, such as your address, to make it appear legitimate. They may also ask for your “group number”, which is your social security number. They may even say your healthcare coverage will be canceled.
This is not the case. You will receive your new Medicare card in the mail and no payment or information is required from you. There are no processing fees for Medicare cards. A Medicare representative will only contact you the through mail. Once you receive your new Medicare card, shred the old card. If stolen, it can be used to impersonate you.
There are also scams involving medical supply companies and/or open enrollment periods. The same rules apply. You should not give out any personal information if you are contacted through email, phone calls, or if a salesperson comes to your personal residence. And do not be pressured into “acting now” for better prices, gifts, etc. You can decide any time during open enrollment.
If your Medicare card is stolen (or lost), you can request a new card. You can do this by calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. You can also request a new card at Social Security’s website, https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/. Or you can always request a card in-person at your local Social Security office.
The bottom line is if anyone calls you and asks for payment, social security information, or bank account information, it is always a scam, and you should hang up. The real phone number for Medicare is on the back of your Medicare card. When in doubt, you should call Medicare directly.
If you are a victim of any scam, you should contact your bank immediately and contact one of the three credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) to put a freeze on your credit. You can also contact the AARP Fraud hotline at 1-877-908-3360.