Here in Pennsylvania we have recently been receiving our new Medicare cards (you know the new ones, without your social security number) the cards started arriving in May and so have the scammers! Allow me to caution you, whenever a new nationwide program is announced that will affect seniors we must be alert for potential acts of fraud. We have already heard about instances where Medicare eligible residents have received phone calls claiming to be from Medicare requesting that you provide your existing Medicare number in order to receive your new issued card, it’s a scam because Medicare will not contact you for your card number. Another scam will require you to pay a fee to receive your new card, this is outrageous to think you would be told to pay for the issuance of the new Medicare card but people have already fallen victim to this scam as well. And yet another scam unfolds, this one tells the consumer that once they have received their new card they are instructed to mail in the old Medicare card to an address provided by the caller or within a letter in the mail, it’s just another attempt to steal your social security information.
Please remember that the whole reason you are getting a new Medicare card is because our social security numbers are often being misused and compromised. The newly issued cards will no longer have our social security numbers on them, instead they have a combination of letters and numbers.
Here are a few tips from Medicare:
Always remember Medicare will never call you asking for personal information or card numbers.You will not be required to pay any fees to receive your new Medicare card.After receiving your new card, immediately shred your old one.Your new card will automatically come to you. You don’t need to do anything as long as your address is up to date. If you need to update your address, visit your my Social Security account.Your new card will have a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you, instead of your Social Security Number. This will help to protect your identity.Your Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same.Mailing takes time. Your card may arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s.Your new card is paper, which is easier for many providers to use and copy.If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare—you should still keep and use it whenever you need care. And, if you have a Medicare drug plan, be sure to keep that card as well. Even if you use one of these other cards, you also may be asked to show your new Medicare card, so keep it with you.Only give your new Medicare Number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.If you forget your new card, you, your doctor or other health care provider may be able to look up your Medicare Number online.Medicare will never call you, Scam artists may try to get personal information (like your current Medicare Number) by contacting you about your new card. If someone asks you for your information, for money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your personal information, hang up and call us at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
This article has been written to provide basic information to warn the public about common fraud and scams by the Pennsylvania Crime Prevention Officers’ Association (PCPOA) a non-profit 501c(3) In cooperation with Crime Alert Berks County. For more information please visit our website at www.PaCrimePrevention.org