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Volume 34
Fall 2018

Our Generation

Medicare Beneficiaries at Risk of Card-Replacement Scams

As the federal government undertakes a major initiative to issue new identification cards to the nation's 58-million Medicare beneficiaries, an AARP survey finds that a majority of those enrollees are at risk of being victimized by fraud schemes designed to capitalize on the card replacement program.

Social Security Scams

The yearlong effort to mail new ID cards to Medicare recipients began in April, 2018. The redesigned cards no longer contain enrollees' Social Security numbers – a move designed to enhance security and help protect against identity theft. Consumer advocates welcome the development but, ironically, the card replacement program has opened new opportunities for con artists that include:

  • Scammers reportedly pose as Medicare representatives and contact beneficiaries to demand immediate payment via credit card of a processing fee for the new card. No such fee exists.
  • In other cases, the scammers falsely say that Medicare needs to "verify" a recipient's Social Security number or other personal information before issuing the card. Medicare says it does not make such calls and does not initiate uninvited contact.