New Medicare cards are rolling out this month, and they are undergoing a big change to make them more secure from identity thieves. Despite this change, however, scam artists may be using this new rollout to take advantage of unsuspecting Medicare recipients.
These new cards, which are being issued to everyone currently enrolled in Medicare are at no cost and will be more secure because they use a “Medicare Beneficiary Identifier” instead of a Social Security number. The delivery of the new cards is staggered, so you will receive your card at a different time than your friends or neighbors. The rollout will continue from now until April 2019.
This process will happen automatically, so you do not need to call anyone to get your card. If you are expecting a new card, it is being mailed to the address you have on file with the Social Security Administration. If you need to update your mailing address, you can visit your online account at www.ssa.gov or call 1-800-772-1213.
Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas advises you to be on the lookout for scammers hoping to take advantage of any confusion surrounding the launch.
How this scam works is you receive a call from a person claiming to work with Medicare. They are allegedly calling about a problem with your new Medicare card. The con artist may say your new card was lost or someone tried to use your ID number. To resolve the situation, the scammer just needs your Social Security number.
In another version, the scammer claims you must pay money to receive your new Medicare card. They may ask you for payment information, so they can “complete the process” for you. They may even ask you to mail them your old card.
How to Avoid Medicare Scams:
- Know how the rollout works. Understand that Medicare isn’t calling consumers about the card switch. If anyone calls and says you need to pay for it, that’s a scam.
- Never provide personal information to a stranger. Don’t share personal details with anyone who calls you unsolicited. Do not confirm or give out your full name, address, Social Security number or any other personal information.
- Guard your card. Protect your new card like you would your credit card. While the changes will help cut down on identity theft, thieves can still use it to get medical services.
To have a better idea of when your card is coming in, you can check the rollout schedule at www.cms.gov. When you get your new card, be sure to destroy your old one. Shred it instead of tossing it in the trash. If you have a separate Medicare Advantage card, keep that because you’ll still need it for treatment.
To report a Medicare scam, or any other type of scam, go to bbb.org/scamtracker.