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Critter Corner: New Medicare Card Scams Are on the Rise

Hayek 1Dear Hayek,

I recently received a call from Medicare asking if I could verify my Medicare number for the new plastic Medicare card being sent my way. The man sounded very professional, and I was tempted to give him my number. Is this a new scam, or could it be legitimate?

Thanks for your help!

Izzy Lejeet

Dear Izzy,

Medicare has been mailing new, more secure cards to enrollees. They got rid of the old card because the old Medicare number was based on a person’s Social Security number. Scammers would use that information to try to steal someone’s identity, open new credit cards, or even take out loans in someone else’s name. Although the numbers on the new cards are different, scammers are still calling Medicare recipients for their information. Here’s what you should know:

  • The FTC said scammers are contacting people on the phone to ask for their Medicare number in exchange for “new plastic cards.” But Medicare doesn’t call people to verify information, and its cards are paper, not plastic.
  • Scammers are hoping that you won’t be informed about the change in Medicare cards, and they may try to use the opportunity to get your personal information.
  • If someone asks you to pay for your new Medicare card, it’s a scam, because Medicare cards are free.
  • Never give your Social Security number, bank account number, or send cash to anyone who says they need it for you to get your new Medicare card.
  • Don’t give your Medicare number to people you don’t know or haven’t contacted first.
  • Keep in mind that Medicare—or someone representing Medicare—will never ask for your personal information for you to get your new Medicare card.
  • Only share your Medicare number with doctors or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare. Say “no thank you” to anybody you don’t know who offers to help you complete applications or forms that require you to fill out personal information.
  • Don’t give your bank account information to people you don’t know. If someone offers to deposit a rebate or bonus into your bank account because you got a new Medicare card, that’s a scam.
  • Some scammers claim they will send Medicare-approved back or knee braces if you will give them your number. This, too, is a tactic that scammers use.

The FTC warns that you should protect your Medicare number as you do with any other personal information. Be sure to check your monthly Medicare statement to ensure that details about recent visits, services, and products match your records and receipts. If your statement shows double charges, contact your doctor or health plan, and if you suspect fraud, contact your state Senior Medicare Patrol.

Hope this is helpful!

Hayek

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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.