Medicare beneficiaries need to be extra alert these days. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports that new scams are popping up around the United States. The con artists are taking advantage of confusion caused by the new Medicare cards. Here’s what Medicare recipients need to know to stay safe.
New Cards Are Coming
The best lies are built on a foundation of truth, and Medicare con artists know this.
CMS really is sending out new Medicare cards. The first of these cards are being mailed out this April. The last of the cards should be mailed out by April 2019. Medicare beneficiaries do not need to do anything special to receive the new cards. As long as CMS has their current address, there should be no problem.
The new cards are designed to prevent Medicare fraud. While the old cards include the beneficiary’s Social Security Number, the new cards use a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier.
The New Scams Are Here
In an ironic but not completely unexpected twist, scammers are using the switch to more secure cards as the basis for their new cons.
The details vary – scammers are always switching up their tactics to try to catch people off guard. Most of the time, they’ll call their targets posing as CMS employees.
- They might say that there’s a fee for the new cards. (There isn’t.) They’ll try to collect payment over the phone for money you don’t owe.
- They might say they need to verify your information. (CMS won’t call to do this.) They’ll ask you for your Social Security Number and other personal details, giving them everything they need to engage in identity theft.
- They might say they need to collect the old Medicare cards. (CMS isn’t doing this.) The scammers will instruct you to send your old card to their address. Once they have your card with your Social Security Number on it, they’ll be able to engage in identify theft.
The best way to protect yourself is to be aware of the ploys scammers use and how they differ from the actual policies of CMS.
- CMS will not call you out of the blue to demand payment or request your personal information. Anyone who does this is a scammer. Hang up.
- CMS is not charging a fee for the new Medicare cards. Anyone who asks for payment for the card is a scammer.
- Keep your personal information private. Don’t give it out to strangers who call or email you. This includes your Social Security Number as well as your new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier.