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Medicare Card Scams

By Scam Awareness | September 12, 2019

In an effort to further protect individuals enrolled in federal health insurance programs from identity theft and scams, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued new cards. In a major change from previous versions, the new cards no longer display social security numbers; rather, they boast a unique combination of letters and numbers called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).

The new cards are being shipped state by state and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends destroying older versions using a shredder. However, some cardholders are being misled by con artists during this shift.

Beware if any of the following occurs:  

  • You receive an unsolicited phone call from an individual claiming to be a Medicare employee. These scam artists might claim you need to pay an activation fee for your new card, upgrade to a plastic card (the cards are always paper) or mail your old card back to the government. No one from Medicare will call you unless you've requested it.
  • You receive an unsolicited phone call from someone posing as a medical insurer who threatens to cancel your plan if you don't update your information with them or who says you need to pay a bill for medical care you never received. It is common for scammers to issue threats to get what they want. 
  • You receive an offer for free medical supplies in exchange for your old card. This is a hoax.

To further protect yourself from identity theft and scams related to the new cards, always make sure your information is up-to-date and that you do not share personal information over the phone. If you think you've received a call from a scammer, hang up and report it to the FTC immediately. Only give your card to trusted doctors, pharmacists, and caregivers.

Guard your card and stay safe! 

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