Beware of New Medicare Card Scams

As we all know, Medicare had a transition to new cards using MBIs rather than social security numbers. Although this was done to help protect against identity theft, scammers have developed new ways to take advantage and steal your information.

We, at MPS, would like to make you aware of this problem so you can help your patients avoid any fraudulent claims.

The Scam

In the past weeks, Medicare patients have sent in complaints about telephone solicitors. These callers are phishing for private identification information that they can use to steal your money or your identity. These scammers will pretend to be Medicare representatives and
can utilize caller ID spoofing to mask their identity. Some calls also utilize robocall technology.

According to Barbara Cobuzzi from Advancing the Business of Healthcare, these callers will say that there was a mix up when they assigned the new Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs) to Medicare beneficiaries and they plan on issuing them a new card. They will ask
that the beneficiary tell them their MBI so they can supposedly verify that they were sent the wrong card and number. They proceed to tell the beneficiaries that they do have the wrong MBI and ask the person what their old Medicare number was, or their Social Security Number (SSN), to verify their identify. They will end the call by asking one last question, “Your birth date is different for the two numbers, what is your correct birth date?”

According to a Detroit Free Press article, some callers also request payment for the new Medicare card. They will ask you to share confidential bank or credit card information. They will also ask you to wire them money or purchase a gift card, so you won’t lose your
healthcare benefits.

Repercussions

After the call, the scammers will have obtained personal information from the patient. This includes their new MBI, their SSN, and their birth date. With just these three data, the scammers can commit fraud and other crimes. These scammers can also sell the information to another person.

How to Protect Your Patients

The best thing you can do for your patient is to pass on this information. You can post a notice that will warn them of this scam.

Things Patients Should Know

Here are some key things your patients should know about the new Medicare cards:

  • Medicare will NEVER call you without an invitation and ask for your MBI or any other personal identification. So, do not share any personal information with anyone who contacts you by phone, email, or by approaching you in person, unless you have given them permission in advance.
  • There is no fee for the new card. It will be mailed automatically to the address you have on file with Medicare.
  • Only give personal information like your MBI to doctors, insurers acting on your behalf, or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare.
  • Medicare, or someone representing Medicare, will only call and ask for personal information in these situations:
  1. A Medicare health or drug plan can call you if you’re already a member of the plan. The agent who helped you join can also call you.
  2. A customer service representative from 1-800-MEDICARE can call you if you’ve called and left a message or a representative said that someone would call you back.
  • If someone asks you for your MBI or any other personal information, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
  • Lastly, if you suspect identity theft, or feel like you gave your personal information to someone you shouldn’t have, contact the Federal Trade Commission.