News release

Senior Scam Alert: Hang Up On Cold Callers Exploiting New Medicare Cards To Steal Identity

4/12/2018

Insurance fraud alliance warns seniors to stay alert to rapidly spreading phone scams

imageWASHINGTON, D.C., April 12, 2018 — Just hang up. That’s the advice a national anti-fraud alliance urges for seniors who receive cold calls from scammers trying to steal their identities by exploiting new Medicare cards.

Medicare is mailing new cards with random characters instead of SSNs to nearly 60 million seniors, starting in April. The security measure can prevent medical and financial ID theft by swindlers who steal seniors’ SSNs from the cards.

Yet con artists are cold calling seniors around the U.S. about the new cards. They’re trying to pirate the seniors’ SSN, bank account numbers and credit card information, warns the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.

That information lets scammers steal a senior’s medical and financial identities. The ripoffs can ruin their credit, drain their bank and Medicare accounts, and jeopardize their financial wellbeing.

Callers pretend they’re from Medicare, and request seniors’ personal identifiers. Among the pitches:

  • You must pay for your new Medicare card now or else you’ll lose your Medicare benefits.;

  • Medicare is updating its files and needs your bank and credit-card numbers.;

  • Medicare is confirming your Social Security number before you can receive your new card.; and

  • Medicare needs your bank information to send you a refund on your old card.

    Watch for emails and texts delivering similar pitches.

    Scammers prey on confusion about the new Medicare cards. Three of four seniors know little or nothing about the cards, an AARP survey says. Six of 10 seniors think they must pay a fee. Half might not question a call from a claimed Medicare rep.

    The Coalition offers this advice:

  • Just hang up. Medicare won’t phone you about the cards. They’re also free, and nor do seniors have to report or verify info to Medicare.;

  • Sign up for an alert that Medicare has mailed your new card; and

  • Destroy your old Medicare card when your new card arrives.

    The new Medicare cards will better protect your identity without an SSN. With common-sense safeguards, you can let the cards do their work well.

    The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud is a nonprofit alliance of consumer groups, insurance companies and government agencies combating all forms of insurance crime.

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    CONTACT:
    James Quiggle, 202-393-7331;