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PNS Daily Newscast - September 21, 2018 


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Change in Medicare Cards Sparks New Round of Scams

Consumer advocates are warning Granite Staters to steer clear of incoming phone calls claiming information is needed about a change in Medicare cards. (Marcello Casal Jr./Wikimedia)
Consumer advocates are warning Granite Staters to steer clear of incoming phone calls claiming information is needed about a change in Medicare cards. (Marcello Casal Jr./Wikimedia)
May 30, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. – It's a change intended to protect the personal information of Granite Staters, but scammers are playing on it to trick folks into revealing key information.

The big change is that Medicare cards will no longer display the beneficiaries' Social Security numbers.

Volunteer AARP Fraud Fighter Norma Boyce says in the long run the change should protect personal information, but right now she says scam artists are trying to profit from the change.

"We're seeing it from various outlets,” she states. “They just released the information that the cards will start in April of 2018, so the scammers have jumped on it and said, 'Oh boy, we have got a field day coming up here.'"

Boyce says about $60 million a year is lost to Medicare fraud. If you get a call claiming to be from Medicare asking you to confirm your Social Security number for the new card, this is a scam. It is also a scam if you get a call claiming you have to pay for your new card.

Boyce says the people who administer the Medicare program are still working on replacing the Social Security numbers with new numbers, so it takes some time before anybody gets a new card, and that's especially true for those already on Medicare.

"The numbers are going to be random, and they say it may take as much as three or four years before they get to the people actually on Medicare, but they are going to give it to the new people first," she explains.

Boyce says the main thing to keep in mind is that this is not the kind of matter that ever would be handled by a phone call.

"These are strictly scammers,” she stresses. “Medicare is going to do this automatically and issue the new cards. If they need to contact you, they will do so by letter – U.S. mail."

If you think you have been a victim of this or any other scam, the best thing to do is report it to local law enforcement.

You can check out the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH