Ahead of the federal government mailing more than 900,000 Kentucky Medicare recipients new I.D. cards, Attorney General Andy Beshear is warning enrollees to be on the lookout for scams.
The mailing of the new cards, which are designed to help minimize fraud by replacing the members’ Social Security numbers with 11-digit I.D. numbers, are triggering scam warnings across the nation. Kentuckians are expected to start receiving the cards in their mailbox starting soon.
Reports indicate scammers are pretending to be Center for Medicare and Medicaid employees calling enrollees and claiming they need to provide personal and financial information or a payment in order to receive, replace or activate their new card.
“I want Kentucky senior citizens to know Medicare will never initiate a call and ask to verify information over the phone,” said Beshear. “If you are contacted by someone claiming to be a Medicare employee asking for information, money or threatening to cancel your health benefits, hang up and report the scam to the federal government at 1-800-MEDICARE.”
The federal health insurance program is for Americans 65 and older and in 2015, Congress ordered I.D. numbers replace Social Security numbers on the cards.
According to Medicare.gov, as long as an enrollee’s address is up-to-date, they do not need to do anything to receive their new card. To update an address, visit your My Social Security account or call 800-772-1213.
This year, Beshear’s Office of Senior Protection and Mediation received reports of Medicare and other insurance scams in Anderson, Boone, Boyle, Gallatin, Jefferson, Jessamine, Kenton, Scott and Spencer counties.
Kenton County Sheriff Charles Korzenborn recently notified residents of a similar Medicare scam where the caller claimed they could qualify and enroll a local senior in Medicare.
“After receiving this call, our citizen was suspicious and immediately contacted the national Medicare fraud number and was assured it was a scam and that Medicare never advises of coverage options via the phone,” said Korzenborn. “This citizen did the right thing by contacting Medicare, our office and Attorney General Beshear’s office to report the call and thankfully no personal information was exchanged.”
One of Beshear’s top priorities is to protect Kentucky consumers, especially seniors, from scams, abuse and exploitation.
To help Kentuckians stay ahead of new and trending scams, Beshear launched Scam Alerts – a communication service that alerts Kentuckians when con artists are on the attack. Beshear urges all Kentuckians to sign-up for Scam Alerts by texting the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311) or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams.