Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask you for personal or private information
DENVER— Today Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman issued a warning to Colorado consumers to be on the lookout for scammers calling, emailing or texting and claiming to be officials from Medicare. These predators are using the distribution of new Medicare cards as an opportunity to trick consumers into giving up their money or personal information. The scammers may threaten to cancel health benefits, or claim to need payment or private information to issue a new Medicare card.
This April, Medicare will begin to issue new Medicare cards to all beneficiaries. To help better protect consumers’ identities, these new cards will no longer contain Social Security numbers. Instead, Medicare will assign a unique number to each patient that can be used for doctor visits and medical claims.
“Medicare will not call consumers offering to replace their cards, they’ll never seek personal information or charge you to replace a card,” said Attorney General Coffman. “We want to make sure that consumers protect their private data, don’t give out their social security numbers or financial information and don’t fall victim to scammers.”
The following is some information to help consumers avoid getting caught up in a Medicare card scam:
- New cards will be sent directly to consumers’ mailing address. If a consumer needs to update their address, they can call Social Security at 800-772-1213 or visit ssa.gov/myaccount.
- If a consumer receives a phone call, email or text offering to help with this transition, they should ignore the offer. Consumers should NEVER provide or verify any personal information to an unsolicited caller or written request.
- New cards will be mailed in waves. Cards for Colorado residents are not scheduled to be mailed until after June 2018. It is likely that Colorado beneficiaries will not receive their new cards until late 2018 or early 2019.
- Once consumers receive their new card, they should shred and/or thoroughly destroy their old card.
- Consumers should only provide their new Medicare numbers to their known doctors, insurers, pharmacists, and health care providers.
Anyone with questions about the Medicare card transition can contact AARP Foundation ElderWatch by calling 800-222-4444 (Denver Metro Area 303-222-4444) or going online.
AARP Foundation ElderWatch Colorado is a program with the Colorado Attorney General and AARP Foundation whose mission is to ensure that no older adults are left to suffer, alone and in silence, at the hands of those who exploit them. The program fights the financial exploitation of older Coloradans through education and outreach, data collection, and the providing of assistance.
If you have been victimized by a Medicare card scam, or wish to report suspicious activity, you can file a report online here.