New Medicare Cards, Same Old Scammers

New Medicare Cards, Same Old Scammers

Medicare is mailing new, more secure Medicare cards with a Medicare Number that’s unique to every person with Medicare. Medicare is getting rid of the old card because the old Medicare Number was based on a person’s Social Security Number. Scammers sometimes use Social Security Numbers to try to steal someone’s identity, open new credit cards or even take out loans in someone else’s name.

Your benefits won’t change with the New Medicare card, and it’ll be mailed to you for free—you don’t need to take any action to get it.

Scammers are hoping that you won’t be informed about the change in Medicare cards and they may try to use the opportunity to get your personal information. Fight back by following these tips:

  • Don’t pay for your new Medicare card. It’s free. If anyone calls and says you need to pay for it, that’s a scam. Never give your Social Security Number, bank account number or send cash to anyone who says they need it for you to get your new Medicare card.
  • Don’t give your Medicare Number to people you don’t know or haven’t contacted first. Some scammers call pretending to be from Medicare, but Medicare—or someone representing Medicare—will never ask for your personal information for you to get your new Medicare card. Only share your Medicare Number with doctors or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare, like your local Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP). Say “no thank you” to anybody you don’t know who offers to help you complete applications or forms that require you to fill out personal information like your Social Security Number.
  • Don’t give your bank account information to people you don’t know. If someone offers to deposit a rebate or bonus into your bank account because you got a new Medicare card, that’s a scam.
  • Don’t let anyone trick you into believing your Medicare benefits will be canceled unless you give them your Medicare Number. If someone threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your Medicare Number, hang up!  If you get a suspicious call, contact 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY: 1-877-486-2048) or call your California Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-855-613-7080..
  • Destroy your old Medicare card. Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new one right away. Don’t just throw the old card away—shred it or cut it into small pieces. Visit the CMSHHSgov channel on YouTube to watch our “Destroy your old Medicare card” video.

Mailing new Medicare cards to millions of Americans takes time. Your card may arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s. Find out when new cards start mailing to your area by visiting Medicare.gov/NewCard, and signing up for email alerts from Medicare.

To learn more on how you can help fight Medicare fraud, visit Medicare.gov/fraud and our Medicare Fraud section.

Please spread the word and download this fraud alert in multiple languages. Thank you!

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.