A recent AARP research study had some unsettling findings about seniors’ awareness of the new Medicare ID cards, which makes them highly vulnerable to Medicare ID card fraud. The survey of people 65 and over showed that:
- 76 percent were not aware of the new Medicare ID cards
- 63 percent believed that the cards required a processing fee
- 56 percent thought that they needed to provide a Social Security number before receiving the card
Scammers have taken notice of the disconnect and have already begun telephone and email Medicare ID card fraud, including identity theft, robbery, and bank schemes. If you have clients who contact you for advice on scams, be prepared with the correct information to help protect them.
Below are a few facts about the new cards, what methods criminals are using, and what your clients can do to combat scammers.
When Is Medicare Rolling Out New Cards for Enrollees?
CMS will mail new Medicare ID cards to 59 million beneficiaries between now and April 2019. The Medicare ID cards will include a new 11-digit “Medicare Beneficiary Identifier” composed of both letters and numbers. The card comes at no cost. If your clients aren’t sure if their address with Social Security is up to date, they can double-check or change it at ssa.gov/myaccount or (800) 772-1213.
How Are Medicare Scammers Stealing Information?
Scammers are out for two things: money and/or identification. Here are some Medicare ID fraud email and phone schemes they’re currently using.
- The scammer claims to be from Medicare and needs to update information over the phone.
- The scammer claims to be from Medicare and needs to collect a processing fee for a new ID card.
- The scammer claims that the beneficiary needs to purchase a Medicare Part D plan or lose their coverage.
- The scammer claims that the beneficiary received a refund from their insurance company and needs a Social Security or bank account number to make a transfer.
What to Tell Your Clients About Medicare ID Card Fraud
The main thing to remember is that Medicare will not contact beneficiaries by phone or email. The only exceptions are if:
- Your client has called Medicare directly and has requested a call back
- Your client’s current Medicare health or drug plan is contacting them
- You personally contact your client in compliance with Medicare Marketing Guidelines
Help Your Clients Protect Their Medicare Identities
To prevent Medicare ID card fraud, seniors should provide Medicare or Social Security identification only to their healthcare providers, insurance companies, and organizations that work with Medicare such as the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
Instruct your clients to withhold any personal information from unknown sources that could be used to access banking or healthcare accounts.
Any suspicious calls asking for Medicare identification can be reported to Medicare at 1-800 MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
For more information about Medicare ID card fraud, visit the Medicare fraud website.
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Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.