Yes, Medicare card substitute telephone calls are a rip-off

If somebody claiming to be from Medicare calls you about changing your card and requests private or banking info, you must grasp up instantly.

Medicare is a federal medical health insurance program that pays for coated well being care companies for many people who find themselves age 65 and older, and for sure youthful folks with disabilities. More than 63 million Americans are at the moment enrolled in Medicare, in accordance with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

VERIFY viewer Robert P. not too long ago requested our workforce to verify whether or not Medicare is asking folks to ask if their eligibility date info is appropriate as a way to ship out new Medicare playing cards. He needs to know if this can be a rip-off. 

THE QUESTION

Are Medicare card substitute telephone calls a rip-off? 

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

Yes, Medicare card substitute telephone calls are a rip-off. Medicare won’t ever contact anybody for his or her Medicare quantity or different private info except the beneficiary has given them permission upfront. 

WHAT WE FOUND

In 2018, Medicare determined to cease utilizing social safety numbers as account numbers to assist preserve its members’ info safer and to guard their identification. In April of that 12 months, it started mailing new Medicare cards with distinctive 11-digit account numbers. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stated that the transition to the brand new playing cards was scheduled to be accomplished by December 2019.

During that point, the FCC stated it began receiving complaints about scammers calling folks pretending to be Medicare representatives. The FCC stated the scammers typically used caller ID spoofing to masks their identification. (Spoofing is when a caller intentionally falsifies the data transmitted to your caller ID show to disguise their identification.) 

The FCC stated a few of the scammers requested cost for the brand new Medicare card, whereas others posed as medical insurers and threatened to cancel folks’s insurance coverage in the event that they didn’t share info from the brand new card over the telephone. 

In an e mail, a U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spokesperson instructed VERIFY Medicare won’t ever contact anybody for his or her Medicare quantity or different private info, together with eligibility dates, except the beneficiary has given them permission upfront. 

Instead, CMS says on its website that Medicare, or somebody representing Medicare, will solely name and ask for private info in these two conditions:

  • A Medicare well being or drug plan might name you when you’re already a member of the plan. The agent who helped you be a part of also can name you.
  • A customer support consultant from 1-800-MEDICARE can name you when you’ve referred to as and left a message or a consultant stated that somebody would name you again.

If you aren’t anticipating a name or are uncertain if Medicare is actually attempting to contact you, you must grasp up and name 1-800-MEDICARE. 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), AARP, and the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison all say if somebody calls you claiming to be from Medicare, and so they ask to your social safety quantity or your financial institution info as a way to get your new card or new advantages, that could be a rip-off, and you must grasp up instantly. 

They all additionally warn in opposition to giving your private info to a caller claiming to be from Medicare. 

“You can’t trust caller ID. These calls can be spoofed so they look like they’re coming from Medicare even when they’re not. Before you give any personal information, initiate your own call to Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE,” the FTC says.

If you obtain a name requesting your Medicare quantity, you must contact the U.S. Health and Human Services fraud line at 1-800-HHS-Tips (1-800-447-8477). You also can contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), report the decision to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint, or file a complaint with the FCC on-line.  

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