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BBB warns about new Medicare scam targeting retirement community

Posted at 8:35 AM, Sep 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-21 11:35:07-04

Medicare is taking extra steps to protect your security, but not all of them are working.  A new wave of scammers is on the rise, despite the randomly generated 11-digit code that is meant to protect users.

In the latest attempt at medical identity theft, a caller poses as a Medicare representative and asks for payment in exchange for the new ID and asking to confirm personal information before it's mailed out. But, the Better Business Bureau is warning people to beware. According to Susann Miller with the BBB,  it's just another scam that can affect nearly 224,000 people in Pima County. "The problem is that scammers are going to see this as an opportunity to take advantage of our retirement community," Miller explained. The call is followed by the threat of canceling healthcare benefits if they don't respond, she added. 

A scary situation for many. So concerning, even Mayor Jonathan Rothschild is joining the effort to prevent it. He joined a Medicare official to talk about a rollout of the cards to beneficiaries in the Tucson area Friday morning. 

If personal information is shared, scammers can then use your insurance to see a doctor, obtain prescriptions, buy medical equipment or even file a false claim. Financial information can be used to sell to other scammers and steal from people across the country, Miller said.  

With Medicare, you will not be contacted over the phone. All communication is sent through the mail, so it is never OK to give out any personal data to a caller, especially your social security number or banking information. If you receive a call from a potential scammer Miller suggests the best thing to do is to hang up and call Medicare directly with the number on the back of your card.