New scam targeting Medicare users.
By Tricia Kean, KNTV Las Vegas.
Martin Thuna recently received a call. “The lady said I’m calling from Medicare. I want to go over your health insurance. You are Martin Thuna? I said yes.” The caller identified herself as Linda and provided a Medicare ID number. Martin says she also had his address. But to confirm she was really speaking with Martin, she asked for a key piece of information, the group number from his Medicare card. That’s when Martin realized something was fishy because the group number is his social security number. Martin says he wasn’t willing to give the caller his social. So he asked if he could call back later. But she wasn’t willing to provide her phone number. Martin told his wife to hang up. Then he called and alerted Medicare. “These scam artists can be very smart,” Lori Powers with Nevada Senior Medicare Patrol told us. Nevada’s Senior Medicare Patrol confirms this was a bogus call. And in an effort to prevent possible identity theft, Medicare has been working to remove social security numbers from all membership cards. “New cards should be coming out in Nevada really at any time. We are in the next wave for them to come out,” Powers said. But the change has led to a rise in phony phone calls, as thieves try taking advantage of confused Medicare members. “Obviously Medicare will return your call if you have an inquiry in with them. But they’re not going to call you out of the blue to ask for your Medicare number or your social security number. And that’s a lesson Martin says we can all use when answering a call from any business.
Sep 11, 2018
Crooks pretending to be from Medicare are trying to steal personal data
By Mark Huffman, ConsumerAffairs
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is issuing new Medicare cards to seniors, with random letters instead of Social Security numbers.
The Social Security numbers are being removed from the cards as a security precaution to prevent fraud. But true to form, scammers are exploiting the switch over in an attempt to defraud seniors.
AARP reports scammers are calling up Medicare recipients and pretending to be representatives from the government’s healthcare program. The caller tells the victim that they need personal identifiers – including Social Security numbers and bank account information – to facilitate the switch to a new card.
According to AARP, here is some of the misinformation scammers are telling seniors:
- 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
- Medicare needs your bank information to send you a refund on your old card
Many unaware of the new cards
None of these things are true. However, some seniors might fall for them because an AARP survey shows that 75 percent of seniors are unaware that new Medicare cards are being issued.
The survey shows other information gaps – 60 percent of seniors think they must pay for the new Medicare cards and half said they wouldn’t question a phone call from someone claiming to be a Medicare rep.
Representatives of Medicare do not call consumers. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud says seniors should just hang up on any caller claiming to be from Medicare. In actuality, they’re crooks trying to scam you. Medicare will actually send you an alert when your new card is in the mail. You can sign up for the alert here. Once your new card arrives, destroy your old one; don’t just toss it in the trash. It contains your Social Security number and can be used to steal your identity.