While Social Security and Medicare benefits have been able to help hundreds of thousands of individuals and families receive the financial assistance they need, unfortunately, there are scammers trying to steal the identities and benefits of disability, retirement, and Medicare recipients. As part of The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) recent fraud-prevention efforts, over the last several months new Medicare cards were sent out to all Medicare beneficiaries. The new Medicare cards will feature a Medicare number that is unique to each recipient in lieu of a Social Security number, making the card safer to carry around.
This is a great step toward preventing fraud and identity theft, but, sadly, scammers still find ways to trick Medicare beneficiaries into sharing their personal information. This is often done over the phone, and con artists may pose as representatives from CMS, the Social Security Administration (SSA), or other federal/health care groups asking you to verify your information. This post is certainly not all-inclusive, but in our efforts to help keep your money, identity, and information safe, we compiled this list of best practices and guidelines to follow when handling calls from third parties you aren’t sure you recognize:
- You do not need to pay for your new Medicare card. CMS sent the new cards to everyone free of charge, so if anyone calls you claiming to be from CMS, SSA (or a Medicare group, etc.) who says that bank information is needed to pay for your new card, they may be trying to take advantage of you.
- CMS will never call you; they operate via U.S. mail. CMS will never call you requesting personally identifying information. If you ever receive a call that doesn’t feel right to you, we urge you to hang up.
- Never confirm your SSN or Medicare card number. We caution you not to give your Social Security Number or Medicare card number to anyone over the phone unless you know exactly who you are speaking to (i.e. a trusted healthcare provider you see regularly, etc.). Per the point above, CMS will never call you to request this type of information.
- If any of your personal/contact information has changed, do not give it out over the phone. If your address has changed recently, you can update your record yourself by either logging on to your mySocial Security account (which you can create here, free of charge) or by visiting your local Social Security office.
When it comes to your health and financial information, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. While these new Medicare cards are certainly a step in the right direction and do provide Medicare beneficiaries with a bit of additional protection, we still highly encourage you to keep your Medicare card safe and to only share the information on it with closely trusted parties. If you ever receive a phone call that feels suspicious or unsettling to you, do not share any of your information with the caller. You can always contact our team of Medicare specialists at Aevo Insurance Services if you have questions. You can also reach out to your local Social Security office or visit for more information.
Nothing in this post is intended as advice or a suggestion to elect or not elect to claim benefits of any kind, including Social Security benefits, nor is it intended as financial advice in any way. The decision to claim benefits is a personal one that is contingent upon each individual’s unique circumstances.