Scammers work to beat new Medicare security measures

The federal government is issuing new Medicare cards to help prevent identity theft and fraud, which is why scammers are working to steal your information while they still can.

Beginning in April 2018, Medicare cards will no longer show Social Security numbers. Instead, cards will have a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) that will be used for billing and to check eligibility and claim status. This change was mandated by Congress in an effort to fight medical identity theft and fraud.

Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of the new security measures by targeting Medicare recipients before the changes roll out.

North Carolina Department of Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey says fraudsters are calling recipients, asking for personal information before the new cards come in. He says they'll ask you to verify your information, pay a fee or offer to track down your new card by using your old card information.

Causey says all of these tactics are scams. “Recipients won’t have to pay anyone or provide additional information to anyone who may threaten to remove Medicare benefits unless they comply,” he warned.

He also reminds that the new cards will be mailed automatically and there will not be any changes to your benefits. All you have to do is start using the new card.

As a rule of thumb, Medicare officials will never call you or ask for your Social Security number or bank information over the phone.

When your new card does come, officials say to destroy the old card to further protect yourself against identity theft. If a family member or someone in your household receives their card before you do, don't worry. Officials say all of the cards will show up, just not always at the same time.

For more information on Medicare fraud, contact the Department’s Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) at 1-855-408-1212.