A New Medicare Card Is on the Way; Beware of Social Security Number ScamsSubmitted by Reby Advisors | Certified Financial Planners | Danbury, CT on May 17th, 2018
Medicare cards of the past had one massive design flaw: they had Social Security Numbers printed on them, in plain sight, for anyone to see. If a card was lost or stolen, the victim was highly vulnerable to identity theft.
That’s why the Medicare agency recently elected to distribute new Medicare cards without Social Security numbers printed on them.
Beware of Scams
The issuance of new cards may sound like good news – and it is a welcomed change – however, it presents an opportunity for thieves and fraudsters.
According to a recent Time article, scams targeting seniors are on the rise: “One in five Americans over the age of 65 are victims of financial abuse—and the average loss is a staggering $120,300.”
Did you know your new Medicare card was coming? According to AARP, three out of four adults over the age of 65 had no idea this was happening.
For those who did not, or who have incomplete information on how the new cards will be issued, it provides thieves with an excellent baiting opportunity to interject before you secure your hands on your rightfully owned Medicare card.
What Seniors Need to Know to Protect Themselves
The most important takeaway from this article is that you do not have to take any action to receive your new card. It’s already coming, without any verification or confirmation of your Social Security Number over e-mail or through the phone.
That means, if someone calls you pretending to be the government, asking you to verify your Social Security Number before or after the new card is distributed, do not respond.
How to Report Scams
If someone tries the scam on you, the Federal Trade Commission wants you to report it so they can keep a tighter grip on what is going on: ftccomplaintassistance.gov. You can also call Medicare directly and inform them of the attempt.
What if I Haven’t Received My Card Yet?
The Medicare cards are being mailed out in waves, which means certain state residents will get their new cards before others. Residents of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are first up. Next will be Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Oregon, and other U.S. territories.
Subsequently, there will be 5 more waves before every U.S. citizen has their new Medicare card. Connecticut and New York are in “wave 4,” scheduled to be mailed after June 2018 and before April 2019.
That means: be patient. While you are waiting, scammers are going to take the opportunity to prey upon the misinformation or confusion that may be out there.
Please Share This Article
Whether you are over the age of 65, or have a parent or a relative who presently is, please share this information with them. Although the new Medicare card design is beneficial for cardholders in the long run, the lack of information surrounding the new card rollout has created an opportunity for scammers to strike.