Identity theft has been a significant concern for some time, particularly among senior citizens who may not be technologically savvy enough to protect themselves from cybercriminals. To help prevent this identity theft problem the U.S. government is about to introduce new Medicare cards.
These cards will no longer use the bearer’s social security number (which is heavily sought after by identity thieves), but will have a new number that is specific to the recipient. Unfortunately, scammers are already trying to take advantage of these new cards.
Here’s what senior citizens need to know about the new Medicare cards and how to protect themselves from scammers.
No Assistance Is Needed To Get New Medicare Cards
New cards are being mailed out over the next several months, but scammers are already contacting Medicare recipients by phone to explain to them they will “assist them” in getting their cards for a fee. No assistance is necessary, however.
How To Activate A New Medicare Card – Just Use It
After receiving the new card, all recipients have to do to activate the card is begin using it. Be aware that scammers are calling and asking the recipients to “verify” their social security number so the card can be mailed. This is giving those scammers access to the very numbers that the new cards are trying to protect, opening the victim to identity theft problems.
Unfortunately, it seems that a lack of information about the new cards may be fueling these scams. A recent survey by AARP revealed the following:
– 76% of senior citizens have said they have not “seen, read, or heard much or anything at all” with regards to the new cards;
– 75% of those already receiving Medicare are not sure about or are wrong when it comes to the changes involving the new card;
– 63% of Medicare beneficiaries falsely believe there is a $25 processing fee related to the new cards;
– 56% of Medicare beneficiaries falsely believe they will be contacted to verify their social security number.
Protect Yourself: Report Scammers
The reality is that cards will be rolled out gradually throughout 2018. Recipients should be receiving these by the end of the year and should not believe the scammers who are contacting them over the phone. If you think one of these criminals have contacted you, immediately contact your local law enforcement.