by Susann Miller of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona
Medicare cards are undergoing a big change to make them more secure. But, in the meantime, scammers are (of course!) taking advantage of confusion around the launch.
How the scam works: You receive a call from a person claiming to work with Medicare. They are allegedly calling about the new Medicare cards, which will be mailed this spring. The cards will be more secure because they use a “Medicare Beneficiary Identifier” instead of a social security number.
The scammer claims that there’s a problem with your card. The con artist may say your new card was lost or someone tried to use your ID number. To resolve the situation, the scammer just needs your social security number. In another version, the scammer claims you must pay money to receive your new Medicare card. They may ask you for payment information, so they can “complete the process” for you. They may even ask you to mail them your old card.
How to avoid Medicare scams: Know how the Medicare card switch works. Understand that Medicare isn’t calling consumers about the card switch. Also, the new Medicare cards are being provided free of charge. Never provide personal information to a stranger. Don’t share personal details with anyone who calls you unsolicited. Do not confirm or give out your full name, address, social security number or any other personal information.
For more information: Learn about similar scams by reading this BBB tip: BBB.org/HealthCareScam. Read more about the new cards and their security benefits on Medicare.gov. If you’ve fallen victim to this type of scam, you can help others avoid being scammed by filing a report BBB.org/ScamTracker. To reach your Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Southern Arizona, go to bbb.org or call 520-888-5353.