With the increasing amount of technology today, it is crucial for individuals to protect their personal Medicare data and be aware of Medicare scams.
What Are Medicare Scams?
When planning for retirement, most individuals consider their income, retirement savings, healthcare costs, and retirement goals. What many people fail to consider is the amount of cybersecurity scams that exist to target senior citizens, especially Medicare recipients. The most frequent type of identity fraud for those over 60 is government document or benefits fraud. Scams such as these work to trick recipients into disclosing information about their benefits, allowing hackers to gain access to personal information. This can be a potential problem if hackers trick you into paying for unnecessary services or submit fraudulent claims in your name.
How Do Medicare Scams Work?
Some of the many tactics that scammers have used include the following…
• Asking for a recipient’s Medicare ID number for account updates
• Claiming that Medicare is issuing new cards, expressing the need to verify the current Medicare ID
• Claiming that Medicare recipients are entitled to a “refund,” urging recipients to give out credit card information
• Offers for free medical supplies – Scammers will ask for your SSN or Medicare number in order for you to receive the supplies.
In any of these cases, scammers will seek out the personal information of the recipient. Many of the scams occur over the phone, but some can even happen by email. This is why credit card information, Medicare ID numbers, Social Security numbers, and personal information should not be discussed over the phone unless you have called the Medicare number directly to discuss your plan. Information about your plan that must be discussed with doctors should wait until you are in the office if possible. It is very unlikely that a Medicare representative would ask you for personal information over the phone, especially if it is your Social Security number or Medicare ID number. If they are a real Medicare representative, there is a very high chance they already have access to this information.
How Do I Protect Myself?
It is important to remember that the new Medicare ID cards, which went out in 2018, do not feature a beneficiary’s Social Security number. Medicare now uses a ‘random Medicare Beneficiary Identifier’ in place of the SSN. This being said, “Medicare beneficiaries do NOT need to update their information, pay a fee or take any other action to receive or “activate” their new cards. Updated cards were mailed out automatically and the transition has been completed,” (Aging Care).
“According to the FBI, senior citizens lose more than $3 billion each year to financial scams,” (SavvyCybersecurity). It is particularly important for Medicare recipients to be familiar with these scams in order to protect their assets and their Medicare plan. This is especially true during yearly Medicare Open Enrollment, which occurs between October 15th through December 7th each year.
Additionally, it is important to remember that Medicare will not call to sell anything to you. If you receive a call from an unknown number that asks for personal information like your SSN, Medicare ID, or credit card, it is likely a scam.
Blair, Ross. “Fake Medicare Calls and Other Scams Seniors Should Be Aware Of.” AgingCare.com, 24 May 2021, https://www.agingcare.com/articles/protect-yourself-from-medicare-scams-159489.htm.
“Medicare Scams: What You Need to Know.” Edited by Sean M Bailey and Devin Kropp, Medicare Scams: What You Need to Know, 27 Apr. 2022, http://links.horsesmouth.mkt6441.com/servlet/MailView?ms=NDY3NTI0NTgS1&r=ODkxMDg0NzY5MzM0S0&j=MjIyMjk2Njc3OQS2&mt=1&rt=0.
Disclosure: This material is provided by TrinityPoint Wealth for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for personalized investment advice or as a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Facts presented have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however, TrinityPoint Wealth cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information. TrinityPoint Wealth does not provide tax or legal advice.