We are committed to educating our community members about scams targeting seniors in Santa Clara County; as well as providing up-to-date information offering protection against such scams. This page offers timely data about scams reported, steps to take when targeted, and how to avoid these scams. Guidance is made available as scams are identified.
Receive updates on identified scams targeting seniors by visiting the national database: fraud.org.
New Medicare card, same old scammers
To help protect your identity, Medicare began mailing new, more secure Medicare cards to individuals enrolled in Medicare. Due to the large amount of individuals enrolled in Medicare, participants should expect to receive their new card starting as early as April 2018 and as late as April 30, 2019.
Your benefits are not changing; you do not need to request a new card. The card will be mailed to you for free.
What has changed?
Rather than basing your Medicare number on your social security number, each new card contains a Medicare number that is unique to each person with Medicare.
Your social security number is a valuable piece of information to those who seek to steal a person’s identity. Scammers are hoping you won’t be informed about the change in Medicare cards; they may try to get your personal information.
Protect yourself by following these tips:
- Don’t pay for your new Medicare card. It’s free. If anyone calls and says you need to pay for it, that’s a scam. Never give your Social Security Number, bank account number or send cash to anyone who says they need it for you to get your new Medicare card.
- Don’t give your Medicare Number to people you don’t know or haven’t contacted first. Some scammers call pretending to be from Medicare, but Medicare—or someone representing Medicare—will never ask for your personal information for you to get your new Medicare card. Only share your Medicare Number with doctors or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare, like your Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP). Say “no thank you” to anybody you don’t know who offers to help you complete applications or forms that require you to fill out personal information like your social security number.
- Don’t give your bank account information to people you don’t know. If someone offers to deposit a rebate or bonus into your bank account because you got a new Medicare card, that’s a scam.
- Don’t let anyone trick you into believing your Medicare benefits will be canceled unless you give them your Medicare Number. If someone threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your Medicare Number, hang up! If you get a suspicious call, contact 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY: 1-877-486-2048) or visit the Senior Medicare Patrol at www.smpresource.org.
- Destroy your old Medicare card. Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card, and start using your new one right away. Don’t just throw the old card away—shred it or cut it into small pieces. Visit the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services YouTube (CMSHHSgov) channel to watch the “Destroy your old Medicare card” video.
Mailing new Medicare cards to millions of Americans takes time. Your card may arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s. Find out when new cards start mailing to your
area by visiting www.medicare.gov/newcard and signing up for email alerts from Medicare.
To learn more on how you can help fight Medicare fraud, visit Medicare.gov/fraud.
If you are interested in learning more about protecting yourself and Medicare card fraud prevention, speak with a Sourcewise Health Insurance Counseling representative: (408) 350-3200, option 2.