Do You Have Your New Medicare Card? Beware of New Scams

Do You Have Your New Medicare Card? Beware of New Scams

In California, the new Medicare cards mailing is complete. These new cards help prevent identity theft by no longer using people’s Social Security number as their Medicare number. Now people have a new 11 digit Medicare number that combines numbers and letters and excludes gender identity and signatures. Does this mean the end of scams regarding your new Medicare cards? Unfortunately, no.

While many scammers took advantage of people waiting to get their new cards, calling and telling them they must first pay a $50-$100 activation fee and/or that they were from Medicare calling to verify their address AND Medicare number (which, by the way, Medicare will NEVER do), scammers are now coming up with new ways to still get people’s old Medicare numbers. California Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) has received recent reports of scammers posing as Medicare representatives and calling beneficiaries saying they need their old Medicare number to activate their new cards. Other scammers are offering to send a free back brace to those who give their old Medicare numbers.

Remember, Medicare will NOT call you. No activation is necessary for your new card and they are free of charge. Medicare issued the numbers and will not need to “verify” anything. Also, all durable medical equipment requires a prescription from your doctor. Medicare does not just send them to anyone for “free”. If you think you’ve come across a scam, call our California SMP at 1-855-613-7080.

If you live in California and haven’t received your new Medicare card yet, you can:

  • Download and print a copy of it from MyMedicare.gov
  • Call Medicare (1-800-633-4227) or Social Security (1-800-722-1213) to make sure Social Security has your right address.
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.