BEDFORD, Va. – Scammers are taking advantage of a recent change in the Medicare system, according to the Bedford County Sheriff's Office.
In April, the federal government began sending new Medicare cards to beneficiaries in an effort to stem identity theft.
Up until this change, according to the Sheriff's Office, Social Security numbers were imprinted on Medicare beneficiaries’ benefit cards, putting millions at risk of identity theft.
Social Security numbers are now being replaced with randomly generated Medicare beneficiary identifiers.
Now, phone scammers are using this as an opportunity to target Medicare beneficiaries by calling enrollees and telling them they need to pay for their new cards.
Scammers then request bank account information and Social Security numbers. If victims refuse to make a payment, scammers are telling them that they will not receive their new card.
New Medicare cards are free, and when enrollees receive their new card in the mail, they should give their new number to their health care providers and keep their card in a safe place.
Then enrollees should destroy their old cards.
Medicare never calls enrollees for Medicare numbers or other personal information, unless the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have been granted permission in advance.