PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Starting Tuesday, people in Pennsylvania will begin receiving their new Medicare ID cards in the mail.
Scammers are trying to trick people during the transition. They are posing as Medicare representatives to try to steal personal information.
“This is one of those red flag moments in our lives. We all need to be alert to the fact that this is happening,” said Mary Bach.
She chairs AARP’s Consumer Issues Task Force.
“This is an example of medical ID theft and we don’t want anyone to fall prey to one of these kinds of scams,” said Bach.
She has been traveling around Pennsylvania educating her peers about this scam.
“The bad guys are phoning us and telling us that they need to confirm some of our private, personal information,” said Bach.
Caitlin Driscoll, of the Better Business Bureau, is seeing an influx of calls and scam tracker reports about it. “Unfortunately, with any type of change that can possibly be confusing to consumers, scammers will come out to take advantage of the situation,” said Driscoll.
According to the BBB, there are three variations of the scam:
1.) Calls asking for personal info over the phone
2.) Requesting payment over the phone for a new card
3.) Requesting the old card be mailed back
“The end goal is definitely to commit an identity theft, especially since Social Security numbers had been used as the primary form of ID on the old cards,” said Driscoll. “AARP has actually done a nationwide survey that shows that 3/4 of people 65 and older are simply not even aware or know very little about the new Medicare card distribution,” said Bach.
Here’s what to know:
1.) It will show up in your mailbox
2.) You do not pay a fee
3.) Your Social Security number will not be on the new card
4.) It will have a new Medicare number, to cut down on fraud
5.) Once you get your new card, destroy your old one
In any case, remember, “If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam,” said Bach.