ATLANTA - Listen up Medicare recipients. The government has started mailing out new Medicare cards. Fifty-five million of them. And that's 55 million times a scammer can try to grab someone else's identity.
The purpose of the new Medicare card is to help prevent identity theft. But, before it gets to you, the bad guys are taking a swipe at sweeping up your personal information before you get your new card. They're counting on you not to know this: that you have to do nothing - absolutely nothing - in order to get that card.
NEW CARD REVIEW
The red, white and blue card started arriving in mailboxes in April. They're coming in waves over the next year. Georgia was told to expect them after July. So here we are.
Your Medicare card has a new number that is unique to you. Instead of your social security number it has a random, 11-number configuration. This is done to protect your identity. Now, know this, Medicare will never ask you for personal or private information or charge you a fee to get your new number or card. Your job is to make sure your mailing address is up to date. Now that you have your new card, you destroy your old one. Shred it!
TWO WAYS TO CHANGE YOUR ADDRESS
HOW THE SCAM WORKS
OK, here's the potential scam issue. You get a phone call. It always starts with a phone call, doesn't it? Someone says they need your personal information in order for you to get your new card. HANG UP. The caller says they'll need money from you in order to get that new card. HANG UP. If you are told by this stranger on the other end that you have a refund coming from your old card and to cough up your checking account number. You know what to do. HANG UP.