Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Des Moines - Iowa seniors and Medicare beneficiaries are encouraged to be aware of current Medicare card scams in our state.  To learn more about Medicare scams impacting Iowans, register for our live event on Friday, April 23, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. at https://bit.ly/3s0g8Ua.

“It’s important for Iowans to protect their Medicare number and not give it to unknown callers,” SHIIP/SMP Director Kristin Griffith said. “Medicare will rarely contact you by phone, and if so, you can also hang up and call Medicare back to confirm that the call is legitimate and not a scam.” 

Medicare scams include the following:

  • Scammers falsely tell Medicare beneficiaries that Medicare is issuing new Medicare cards.  Medicare isn't issuing new cards and Medicare employees don't contact participants through unsolicited calls, emails, or visits. Medicare communicates with beneficiaries via mail.
     
  • Scammers falsely allege Medicare is issuing new plastic or metal Medicare cards or black and white Covid-19 Medicare cards.  The scammers state that in order to get your new card, you need to provide personal identifying information such as your Medicare number, birth date or even financial account numbers. Medicare will never ask for your personal information or Medicare number unless you contact Medicare yourself.  
     
  • Scammers falsely allege Medicare is replacing the Medicare card due to suspicious activity, or promise the new Medicare card will give them new and enhanced Medicare benefits not available with their current card. Scammers often threaten that the current Medicare card is going to be deactivated.  This is not true.
     
  • “Spoofing” is a process often used by scammers.  Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Scammers also often use “neighbor spoofing” so it appears that an incoming call is coming from a local number, or spoof a number from a company or a government agency like Medicare or Social Security Administration that you may already know and trust.

If you suspect Medicare fraud, errors, or abuse contact Iowa SHIIP/Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-800-351-4664 or www.smp.iowa.gov.

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