Officials Warn of Scams Relating to New Medicare Cards

Via the Detroit Free Press:

New Medicare cards — the ones that won’t make it easy for ID thieves to steal your Social Security number — will find their way into wallets next year. But we’re already hearing warnings about scams that are bubbling up before the big changeover. The design for the new Medicare card is expected to be revealed in September. And TV ads have already begun talking about the new cards and featuring the tagline “Guard Your Card.” The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will mail new cards to those receiving Medicare benefits beginning in April 2018 through April 2019. The new cards will use a unique, randomly assigned code — not your Social Security number. Seniors do not have to do anything to get a new card. The new ID is called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier, which is 11-characters in length. The unique ID will be made of numbers and uppercase letters. Susan Bowen, who works for the Area Agency on Aging Region 9 serving northeast Michigan, has been trying to get the word out at various events, including conferences this summer relating to elder abuse, about the potential for new scams. Bowen envisions scammers crafting stories that scare seniors into thinking they won’t receive their new cards in time if they don’t hand over bank account information and Social Security numbers.  Or maybe some fraudsters, as they have in the past, will say there’s a fee connected to receiving a new Medicare card. There is no such fee. Or scammers might threaten that you’d lose your benefits if you don’t react to their demands right away, such as putting cash to pay a bill on a gift card.

Source/more: Detroit Free Press
Related: How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams