- Author: Patti C. Wooten Swanson
Are you age 65 or older?
If so, you may be targeted by a new Medicare scam.
Medicare is issuing new benefit cards with new benefit ID numbers.
Look at your Medicare card. Your social security number, which is also your benefits number, is printed on your card. This has led to growing rates of identity theft among those 65 years and older.
Its easy for a thief to get your number. Anyone who stands close to you when you check out at the pharmacy can see the number and use it to steal your identity and may even fraudulently claim benefits in your name. The same thing can happen if someone sees your card when you open your wallet at the cash register, or finds your missing wallet (with your Medicare card inside).
The government redesigned the Medicare card so that it does not reveal your social security number. You will be assigned a new personal benefits number. Here's what the new card will look like:
What do you need to do?
That's important because scammers may try to take advantage of someone who is not aware of the process for receiving their new card.
The new card will be sent to you. You do not need to fill out a form, pay a fee, or give someone your social security number. Here's what the Federal Trade Commission advises to protect yourself:
- If you get a phone call, email, text or letter claiming to be from Medicare and asking for your social security or bank account number...
IGNORE it! That's a scam. Medicare will never call (or send an email, text message, or letter) and ask for this information.
- If someone asks you to pay for a new Medicare card...
IGNORE them. That's a scam. Your new Medicare card is free.
- If someone threatens to cancel you benefits unless you give them information or send money...
IGNORE them.That's also a scam. There will not be any changes to your benefits.
When will this change happen?
Delivery begins in April 2018 and will be completed by April 2019.
Learn more at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. https://www.cms.gov/medicare/new-medicare-card/nmc-home.html