Medicare cards are undergoing a big change to make them more secure. But in the meantime, scammers are (of course!) taking advantage of confusion around the launch.
Medicare began rolling out new cards this month and will continue through April 2019. These new cards 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.
“Scammers look for any opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers,” said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “This is no exception and we want consumers to be alert and aware of how this scam works and how to avoid falling victim.”
How the Scam Works
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 Medicare card switch works. Understand that Medicare isn’t calling consumers about the card switch. Also, the new Medicare cards are being provided free of charge.
- 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.
For More Information
Learn about similar scams by reading this BBB.org/HealthCareScam . For more information about the new cards and their security benefits visit Medicare.gov .
To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker ( BBB.org/scamtracker ). To protect yourself from all kinds of scams, visit the BBB Scam Tips page ( BBB.org/scamtips ).
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