Retirement & Financial Planning Report

The government has issued a warning about a new Medicare-related scam related to that program’s project, starting this month and continuing over a year, to replace all current Medicare cards.

The new cards will include a new identifier called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier to replace use of the Social Security numbers, in a move to help protect against identity theft as ordered by a 2015 law. They are being mailed to beneficiaries without any action needed on their part, the warning stresses, but in a phone scam, a caller claiming to be “a federal employee from Medicare” states that until it arrives, the beneficiary needs a temporary card at a cost ranging from $5 to $50.

“The scammer will ask for your personally identifiable information (PII) including your Medicare number (which is currently your SSN), bank account information, or credit card number so they can process payment for your temporary card. The scammer may threaten to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your PII,” the warning said.

It stressed that Medicare does not call beneficiaries unless they request it, and that personally identifiable information generally should never be disclosed over the phone. Beneficiaries might want to doublecheck that Medicare has their current mailing address, which can be done through personal accounts on the SSA site, it added.