Last year, Medicare started sending out new Medicare ID cards. At the same time, fraudsters and crooks got busy capitalizing on this by starting new ways of scamming people out of their money and their identities. Here’s why: the old ones were basically your social security number! By now, everyone knows not to give that thing out, but since literally everyone on Medicare got a new card sometime in 2018, scammers adjusted their tactics and changed tactics.
In April 2018, Medicare started sending out new ID cards to beneficiaries. One of the reasons behind the new cards was to remove the Social Security numbers, and in turn, to reduce fraud and identity theft.
Unfortunately, scam artists are already starting to capitalize on these new Medicare cards. One popular scam involves making Medicare beneficiaries believe that they must pay for their new ID cards, at a cost of anywhere from just a few dollars to several hundred.
Another scam involves criminals contacting Medicare enrollees and stating that they are from a government agency, and that they are in need of the beneficiary’s bank account information so that funds may be directly deposited.
Still other scammers are calling Medicare beneficiaries to let them know that their coverage will be interrupted while waiting for their new ID cards to arrive. This, however, is not the case, as benefits will continue, regardless of when the new ID card shows up. The feds put out a decent article on this topic, too which you can read by clicking here.
We wrote a good post on this topic a while back too, and you can find out more information by clicking here.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: Unless you have called Medicare in the past and filed some sort of complaint, 99% of the time Medicare doesn’t call you. They’re kind of like the IRS… they don’t call you, either unless you’ve somehow got an outstanding issue with them. Now, if you’ve got a Medicare Advantage or a PDP plan, they may call you to check in or talk to you about a claim. But the rule of thumb is, don’t volunteer any information. If THEY call YOU, they should have all of YOUR information already. Make them read it to you, and then you can VERIFY your information. Better yet, have them give you a callback number, and YOU call THEM.
Look, it’s not cool to think about people preying on the aged. No one likes to think they’re “dumb” enough to fall for a phone scam, but it happens all the time, regardless of education or experience. It is easy for criminals to convince enrollees to provide personal and / or financial information. However, if you feel that you have been contacted by a scammer, you do not have to provide any of your information to them. Hang up.
If you think someone is trying to scam you, report Medicare fraud by contacting Medicare directly, toll-free, at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Alternatively, you can contact the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-447-8477.
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Author Bio: Ben started Prepare for Medicare in 2014 to help people help people get objective answers to questions about Medicare. He’s held leadership roles at numerous Fortune 500 Medicare health insurers in product development, sales, marketing and strategy for over 20 years.