Medicare is taking extra steps to ensure your security. Not all of them are working.
For starters, Medicare's new ID cards — meant to curb ID theft by replacing the Social Security number with a randomly generated 11-digit code — have prompted a new wave of scammers.
In this latest attempt at medical identity theft, a caller posing as a Medicare representative will ask for payment in exchange for the new ID. (The cards, which will be automatically sent sometime between April 2018 and April 2019, are free and require no extra steps.)
The same goes for someone asking if you want to purchase Medicare's prescription drug coverage, known as Part D. In this case, a scammer may try to persuade you to buy Part D or lose your Medicare coverage. (Part D is voluntary and has no impact on your health plan.)
Another common ruse is that you're owed a refund from your insurance company and the caller needs your bank account number and Social Security number to deposit it. A similar fraud also involves a caller claiming to be with Medicare requesting to update or confirm your information.
In each of these attempts at medical identity theft, scammers can then use your insurance to see a doctor, obtain prescriptions, buy medical equipment or even file a false claim.