New Medicare Scam
Published, March 1, 2018
This article provides information about a new Medicare scam, general rules for protecting yourself, and what to do if you become a victim.
Starting April 1, 2018, Medicare will start a year-long project to replace all current Medicare cards for beneficiaries. The new cards will no longer feature Social Security Numbers (SSNs), but rather a new identifier called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier. The move was required by the 2015 Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act and is intended as a fraud prevention initiative that will help combat identity theft. New cards will be mailed via the U.S. Postal Service without any action on the beneficiary’s part. Medicare has until April 2019 to complete card replacement.
What's the scam?
A "Federal employee from Medicare," (i.e., the scammer) will call you to say you are receiving a new Medicare card soon, but until it arrives you will need a temporary card. The temporary card will cost anywhere from $5 to $50 dollars. The scammer will ask for your personally identifiable information (PII) including your Medicare number (which is currently your SSN), bank account information, or credit card number so they can process payment for your temporary card. The scammer may threaten to cancel your health benefits if you don't share your PII.
Things to remember:
If YOU become a victim of this scam:
- As a general rule, never disclose your PII to anyone over the phone that you don't recognize.
- Medicare will NEVER call you unless you request it. Medicare conducts all communication by mail.
- Make sure the agency has your correct mailing address on file. You can check and update your mailing address by logging into your account on the Social Security Administration website.
- Use your answering machine to screen calls. Don't answer calls if you don’t recognize the number.
- The new Medicare card is free.
- You can contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).