You receive a phone call from someone who claims to be a Medicare representative. They inform you that Medicare is having a problem filing your claims, or that they need to verify your identity before sending your new card. The caller might even issue a vague threat, saying that your benefits could be canceled if you refuse to “cooperate”. They need your Social Security number right now.
You glance at your Caller ID, and the caller appears to be “US Government” or even “Medicare”. So the call certainly seems legitimate. You feel like you should go ahead and comply with the caller’s request, because you certainly don’t want an interruption in your Medicare benefits…
Wait! This is a scam call.
If you give out your Social Security number over the phone, you’ve just aided a criminal in stealing your identity. Everything from your credit report to your income tax status could be affected. Once criminals have your name and Social Security number, they can take out loans in your name, get a credit card and run up the balance, or steal your income tax refund. And yes, they can even pretend to be you and receive medical care.
The technology does exist to fake Caller ID names and numbers. So don’t let that fool you.
This is why Medicare is issuing new cards, replacing the Social Security number with a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). The Medicare organization has seen too many of these scams affecting innocent people. We also have the problem of data, stored with your physician’s computer network, being stolen. It simply isn’t a good idea to use Social Security numbers as Medicare beneficiary numbers any longer.
Medicare will be issuing you a new card, sometime between now and April 2019 (they’re working through the system and it will take awhile to get everyone their cards). In the meantime, please know that you don’t need to do anything. Your card will be issued automatically. If someone calls and says they need your information so that they can process your new Medicare card, hang up the phone right away. That’s a scam caller, because Medicare already has your information on file.
You don’t need to do anything else, in order to receive your new Medicare card. It might take until April of 2019 to arrive in your mailbox, but the agency has everything they need to process your new card. Until then, your current card (and benefits) should function as they always do.