This month the government began sending out new Medicare cards to replace the old ones which were stamped with Social Security numbers (SSNs). The old cards were vulnerable to thieves who could use a stolen Medicare card to steal the cardholder’s’ identity. The new cards replace the SSN with a new, randomly-generated11-digit Medicare number.
But the scammers are not giving up. They are using several tricks to try to swindle the new Medicare numbers from unsuspecting Americans. Some criminals claim to represent Medicare and ask for a bank account number to arrange direct deposit of funds. In another con a phone caller will threaten to cancel a person’s health insurance if they don’t give out the number. “We’re telling people, don’t ever give someone this number—just hang up,” said Nancy Ketcham, an Iowa elder rights specialist. Amy Nofziger, an AARP fraud expert, told the Los Angeles Daily News that “a Medicare representative will never contact [someone] by phone or email about the new cards and will certainly never ask for money or personal information or threaten to cancel your health benefits.”