Scammers are always finding new ways to take advantage of seniors. A change to Medicare cards in 2015 is giving them that opportunity. Families need to be on the alert. Although a senior’s credit cards may be locked up, and extra security added to the bank account, there is yet another weak point that might be exploited: the Medicare cards.

Changes to the Medicare Cards

Legislation passed in 2015 required the Medicare card system to change. The new laws removed the person’s social security number from the card to reduce the risk of identity theft.
Now, instead of printing the social security numbers as the Medicare card ID, a randomly generated number identifies the patient. All people participating in the Medicare system received new cards with these 11-digit numbers.

Scammers Looking for Opportunities

But, scammers are always looking ahead. If a scammer accesses the Medicare card number, they can send fraudulent bills to Medicare. For example, they can bill for health equipment that was never delivered, such as a power wheelchair. Then, if that equipment is legitimately needed in the future, the claim might be denied on the grounds that the patient already received the equipment.

How Do They Locate Medicare Numbers?

One of the common ways for scammers to access Medicare card numbers is by phone. They pretend to be staff at the doctor’s office. Often, the phone call is a courtesy call to “update our records.”  Or, scammers set up booths at local health fairs and offer freebies for seniors who provide personal information, such as Medicare numbers.
If CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) needs to contact you, they will never call on the phone. The only form of communication regarding Medicare numbers comes through written, mailed letters. It is important to safeguard these numbers in the same way a social security number should be protected.
Do you need more information about other common financial scams? Check out the other articles here on our website. Contact us anytime: Email or call 858-480-7551. Senior Safe and Sound.
This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal advice.