Coloradans, Be Sure that New Medicare Card Is Legitimate – newsletter 4-22-24

If you are a Medicare enrollee, there are times you may receive or be offered a new Medicare card even after you’ve been in the program for quite a while. Is that new card legitimate? The answer is: It depends. One of the key clues to pay attention to is the route by which you received such a card or were invited to accept one. On the legitimate side, Medicare may send you a new card, physically in the mail, if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has a reason to. As an example, a couple years ago CMS mailed close to 250,000 new cards to beneficiaries after personal information of enrollees was compromised in a data breach/ransomware attack at a subcontractor. Those enrollees received new cards with new ID numbers because the breach was thought to possibly involve personally identifiable information and/or protected health information. On the fraud side, AARP reported the case of a 73-year-old widow in North Dakota who received a call from “Medicare” offering her an enhanced plastic chip card the size of a debit or credit card. She was told it would contain a microchip to encrypt transactions for greater data security. It sounded good so she gave the caller her Medicare number. This of course could compromise her personal information and be a way for the scammer to commit Medicare fraud. Other twists on this scam AARP has described involve impostors asking for your new, randomly generated ID number (which is actually a legitimate number for you) to confirm that you received your card or to “activate” it (which you do not need to do and is a fraudulent request). A scammer may also tell you your new card won’t work because it isn’t the correct one, offering to send you a replacement card if you give them your personal information. Best advice: If you’re wary, you can call 800-MEDICARE to verify whether a new card, received or being offered, is for real. Remember also if you do receive a legitimate replacement card for Medicare, be sure to shred your old card. And if you lose your Medicare card, you can request a replacement at Medicare.gov or call the hotline at 800-633-4227.

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