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Avoid Scams And Guard Your Card

With the New Year upon us many people have updated or changed their insurance coverage. These changes can bring about new health insurance cards being issued. The New York StateWide Senior Action Council (StateWide), is advising seniors to “Guard Your Card,” as Scammers will use various tactics to trick individuals into revealing their Medicare information. StateWide is a component of the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), the definitive resource for New York State’s senior citizens and caregivers to detect, prevent, and report healthcare fraud, errors, and abuse.

“In 2018, Medicare removed Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards. This aimed to protect your sensitive information, but unfortunately, scammers find new ways to exploit beneficiaries. A Medicare card is a paper card with a blue banner on top, a white middle section, and a red banner at the bottom and there are no plans for further updates,” explained Maria Alvarez, Executive Director of StateWide.

Scammers are using various tricks to obtain Medicare information. If someone contacts you stating Medicare is changing to a new type of card or if someone calls you to verify that you have gotten your new card and asks you to read them your number – do not give out your Medicare information.

These criminals may falsely represent themselves as a Medicare representative. It is important to be aware Medicare will not contact you requesting your information.

Statewide is reminding people, “Guard Your Card:”

— Avoid Unknown Calls: Do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize. Scammers often use caller ID spoofing to appear legitimate.

— Guard Your Medicare Number: Never confirm your Medicare number or answer “Yes” to any unsolicited questions.

— Treat it Like a Credit Card: Protect your Medicare card and number like you would your credit card. Do not share it, laminate it, make copies, or allow others to copy it.

Seniors or their caregivers can report Medicare Card Scams by calling the NYS Senior Medicare Patrol at 800-333-4374. Make sure you have any information relating to the violation including the name of the person you spoke to, date, and any other details about the incident. If you would like local assistance please contact Chautauqua County NYConnects at (716) 753-4582.

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