Starting after June and continuing over the next year, seniors in North Carolina will be receive new Medicare cards in the mail.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid will issue cards with a new Medicare number and a Medicare Beneficiary Number that is comprised of 11 randomly generated digits and capital letters. Formerly, the Medicare cards reflected seniors’ Social Security numbers, which made seniors vulnerable targets of identity theft. The new cards are a welcome change that is intended to prevent fraud on seniors.
While the new cards are intended to protect seniors, their issuance has spawned a number of phony phishing scams targeted towards seniors. The two primary scams relate to: (1) a request for private information; and (2) a request for money.
These scams include telephone calls from scammers, claiming to be from Medicare, seeking your direct deposit number and using the new cards as a reason to call. Other scammers seek out Social Security numbers to verify information, claiming that your new card fell into the wrong hands. Still others ask for money to receive the new card or a temporary card.
In some cases, scammers are threatening to cancel seniors’ health benefits if the requested information is not provided. These scammers are using sophisticated spoofing techniques to make it appear as if the call originated from a government agency.
Note well – Medicare will never call seniors to seek money or ask for personal or private information in exchange for a new card. If someone asks you for money or private information or threatens to cancel your health benefits, call 1-800-MEDICARE to report the activity or contact your local Senior Medicare Patrol here.
To avoid falling victim to the new scams, follow these helpful hints:
- Ensure that the Social Security administration has your current mailing address on record here
- Check your mailbox regularly
- Destroy your old Medicare card upon receipt of the new card
- Protect the information on your new card by keeping it safe
- Provide your new card only on request to health care providers, insurers and pharmacists that you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has posted information online here with expected mailing dates for new cards across the country. The mailing dates are based on geographic region. People enrolling in Medicare will be among the first to receive new cards.
Seniors in North Carolina can expect to begin receiving their new cards after June and through April 2019. You will not have to pay anything or do anything to receive your new card, so long as your address is current with the Social Security Administration. Your Medicare benefits will remain the same. While the new numbers on the cards are deemed “non-intelligent” – having no hidden meaning – the numbers should be kept private and protected just like any other private information.