NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With new Medicare cards slated to arrive in Tennessee sometime after June, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) is warning Medicare beneficiaries to be wary of scammers who might use the cards’ pending arrival as an opportunity to fleece unsuspecting consumers.
Federal laws enacted last year required the removal of Social Security numbers (SSNs) from old Medicare beneficiary cards. Scammers and identity thieves frequently used pilfered personal information from the old cards to open credit card accounts or take out loans in someone else’s name.
While the new Medicare cards include a unique, randomly assigned Medicare number in place of SSNs, scammers may use the transition period before the arrival of the new cards to take advantage of beneficiaries.
“The removal of Social Security numbers from Medicare cards is a great step at cutting down on Medicare fraud and protecting beneficiaries from identity thieves,” said TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “Until the new Medicare cards arrive, I’m urging Tennesseans to be on guard for scammers who might attempt to harm unsuspecting consumers and capitalize on consumers’ trusting natures.”
Consumers who believe they have been contacted by scammers should report the incident to the Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) upon discovery. To help protect consumers, TDCI’s Division of Consumer Affairs shares the following tips to help consumers get ahead of Medicare card scammers:
- You do not have to pay for your new Medicare card. Medicare is mailing beneficiaries new cards at no charge. If anyone contacts you claiming to represent Medicare or another government agency and is trying to charge for your new card, it is a scam.
- Do not give your Medicare number to an untrusted source. Scammers call pretending to be from CMS or another government agency asking for person information in exchange for your new card. Cards are being shipped automatically and do not require you to share your Medicare number to receive one. Only share your Medicare number with doctors or trusted people who work with Medicare.
- Never share financial information with someone you don’t know. If someone contacts you asking for your bank or credit card information with the promise of a rebate or bonus because of your new Medicare card, it is a scam.
- Do not believe anyone who threatens to cancel your Medicare if you don’t give them your Medicare number. As mentioned above, your Medicare services are not affected by the new Medicare cards. If someone calls threatening to cancel your coverage if you don’t provide them information, report the call to Medicare by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.
- Destroy your old card. Once you receive your new Medicare card, the old one is not needed. Destroy your old Medicare card by shredding it–remember: it has your SSN on it!
- Guard your new card. Even though the new Medicare card doesn’t have your SSN on it, you should safeguard your new Medicare card just as you would any other important records or credit cards.
Beneficiaries can get information about card mailings and sign up for card mailing status emails at Medicare.gov/NewCard. For more tips on avoiding scammers or to file a complaint, visit tn.gov/consumer.