In an effort to help protect the elderly from identity theft, the federal government started mailing new cards that come with a new 11-digit identification number instead of an enrollee's Social Security number. The cards will be sent automatically to Medicare's roughly 59 million participants over the next year. Seniors should be sure their addresses are up to date with the Social Security Administration....According to AARP:
Though the effort is designed to help minimize fraud, it has sparked a series of scams. Medicare wants enrollees to know that they don't have to do anything to receive their cards (as long as their address is correct), and there is no activation process or fee. Also, Medicare will never initiate calls and ask to verify information over the phone.
Scammers posing as Medicare representatives have already been calling beneficiaries demanding a processing fee. Other fraudsters are telling beneficiaries that they are owed a refund from transactions on their old card and then asking for bank account information to process the reimbursement. Medicare will never ask an enrollee for a bank account number, and no refunds are owed.The New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud offers this advice:
• Just hang up. Medicare won’t phone you about the cards. They’re also free, and nor do seniors have to report or verify info to Medicare;
• Sign up for an alert that Medicare has mailed your new card; and
• Destroy your old Medicare card when your new card arrives.