The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is issuing new Medicare cards to seniors, with random letters instead of Social Security numbers.
The Social Security numbers are being removed from the cards as a security precaution to prevent fraud. But true to form, scammers are exploiting the switch over in an attempt to defraud seniors.
AARP reports scammers are calling up Medicare recipients and pretending to be representatives from the government's healthcare program. The caller tells the victim that they need personal identifiers – including Social Security numbers and bank account information – to facilitate the switch to a new card.
According to AARP, here is some of the misinformation scammers are telling seniors:
You must pay for your new Medicare card now or else you'll lose your Medicare benefits
Medicare is updating its files and needs your bank and credit-card numbers
Medicare is confirming your Social Security number before you can receive your new card
Medicare needs your bank information to send you a refund on your old card
Many unaware of the new cards
None of these things are true. However, some seniors might fall for them because an AARP survey shows that 75 percent of seniors are unaware that new Medicare cards are being issued.
The survey shows other information gaps – 60 percent of seniors think they must pay for the new Medicare cards and half said they wouldn't question a phone call from someone claiming to be a Medicare rep.
Representatives of Medicare do not call consumers. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud says seniors should just hang up on any caller claiming to be from Medicare. In actuality, they're crooks trying to scam you.
Medicare will actually send you an alert when your new card is in the mail. You can sign up for the alert here.
Once your new card arrives, destroy your old one; don't just toss it in the trash. It contains your Social Security number and can be used to steal your identity.