Medicare ID scam targets seniors receiving new cards

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Although millions of people 65 or older will soon receive new Medicare cards to prevent identity theft, fraudsters are exploiting the nationwide rollout to attempt to convince seniors to reveal personal information.

The new Medicare cards will not feature Social Security numbers, but will identify individuals with an 11-character combination of numbers and letters. Distribution of the new cards began in April, and will be sent to 58 million Medicare recipients across the nation.

According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, scammers are cold calling seniors regarding the new cards in an effort to steal Social Security numbers, bank account numbers and credit card information.

“They’re sneaky. Very sneaky,” Virginia Baize, of Muncie, Ind., told WTHR-TV last week.

Baize and her husband have noticed an increase in phone solicitations from scammers posing as telemarketers, although they have not yet received their new Medicare cards.

Nancy Moore, Indiana’s Senior Medicare Patrol program director, said that phishing scams targeting seniors are on the rise because scammers are desperately trying to convince seniors to divulge their Social Security numbers before those numbers disappear from Medicare cards.

“It’s happening nationwide and it’s happening in Indiana,” Moore said. “People need to know Medicare won’t call you. They only operate via U.S. mail, but the scammers are very persistent. If they call you, just hang up. Don’t give out any personal information. They’re just really after your Social Security number.”

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