June 7, 2018
Both Social Security and Medicare are very aware of the presence of scammers trying to steal the identities and benefits of disability, retirement, and Medicare recipients and as part of Medicare’s recent fraud-prevention efforts, new Medicare cards are being sent out to all Medicare beneficiaries between now and April of 2019. The new Medicare cards will feature a Medicare number that is unique to each recipient in lieu of a Social Security number, making the card safer to carry around.
This is a great step toward preventing fraud and identity theft, but, sadly, scammers still find ways to trick Medicare beneficiaries into sharing their personal information. This is often done over the phone, and con artists will pose as representatives from Medicare or other federal/health care groups looking to verify your information. This post is certainly not all-inclusive, but in our efforts to help keep your money and information safe, we compiled this list of best practices and guidelines to follow when handling calls from third parties you aren’t sure you recognize:
- You do not need to pay for your new Medicare card. Medicare is sending the new cards to everyone free of charge, so if anyone calls you claiming to be from Medicare (or a Medicare group, etc.) who says that bank information is needed so you can receive your new card, they may be trying to take advantage of you.
- Medicare will never call you; they only operate via U.S. mail. Medicare will never call you requesting personally identifying information. If you ever receive a call that doesn’t feel right to you, we urge you to hang up.
- Never confirm your SSN or Medicare card number. We caution you not to give your Social Security Number or Medicare card number to anyone over the phone unless you know exactly who you are speaking to (i.e. a trusted healthcare provider you see regularly, etc.). Per the point above, Medicare will never call you to request this type of information.
- If your information is current, you will receive your card automatically. Updated cards are being sent out in waves based on location, and it could take one full year for you to receive your updated card, depending on where you are located within the U.S. If you’d like to stay updated, sign up for email alerts through Medicare.gov to learn when your card is being sent out.
- If any of your personal/contact information has changed, do not give it out over the phone. As stated above, your card will be sent automatically. If your address has changed recently, you can update it yourself by either logging in to your my Social Security account (which you can create here, free of charge), or by visiting your local Social Security office.
When it comes to your health and financial information, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. While these new Medicare cards are certainly a step in the right direction and do provide Medicare beneficiaries with a bit of additional protection, we still highly encourage you to keep your Medicare card safe and to only share the information on it with closely trusted parties. If you ever receive a phone call that feels suspicious or unsettling to you, do not share any of your information with the caller. You can always contact our team of Medicare specialists at Aevo Insurance Services if you have questions. You can also reach out to your local Social Security office or visit https://www.medicare.gov/ for more information.
Cover image source: Medicare.gov.
Nothing in this post is intended as advice or a suggestion to elect or not elect to claim benefits of any kind, including Social Security benefits, nor is it intended as financial advice in any way. The decision to claim benefits is a personal one that is contingent upon each individual’s unique circumstances.