During this year’s open enrollment period, Aspire’s team noticed an increase in Medicare scam attempts. For example, we received an email from a Monterey County resident who was recently contacted by someone who claimed that they were issuing the resident a new Medicare card since theirs had been deactivated. Luckily, this person knew what to look out for. Your card will never be arbitrarily deactivated, and no Medicare representatives should call you unless you call them first.
If you get a call like this, knowing the safety tips below can help protect your information.
1. Keep your Medicare card safe
We recommend that you treat your Medicare card like your social security card. Scammers want to steal your identity, Medicare card or money. To minimize your risk, keep all personal and important documents inaccessible to anyone other than you.
2. Don’t give out personal information
If someone calls and requests that you verify your social security or Medicare number, do not give it to them. Remember, Medicare representatives will not call you first and will not request this information over the phone. It is likely a scam if they do. You should hang up immediately and report the Medicare scam.
3. Avoid “preferred” plans
Don’t talk to anyone that says their plan is “preferred” by Medicare. Medicare does not prefer or endorse any specific plan. If someone says this to you, they are lying and likely trying to scam you into giving them your personal information.
4. Don’t feel rushed by a representative
If someone calls you trying to rush you into making a decision, hang up. Urgency can be a tactic to influence people to be less careful. This person is probably calling many people trying to use the same approach.
It’s a good idea to periodically review tips to protect yourself and your loved ones again Medicare scams. Don’t forget to guard your Medicare number and information, get familiar with signs that someone could be a scammer and keep your guard up and avoid distractions. If you aren’t sure about a call you’ve received, hang up and call CMS at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
We hope that by sharing these tips, we can help you feel more confident. We would like to remind our members to remain vigilant and that we’re always here to help. Please contact Member Services at (831) 574-4938 or toll free (855) 570-1600 (TTY: 711) if you have any questions.