Photo credit: Herlifeinpixels | Unsplash
Q: Will I ever be asked for my Medicare or Social Security number?
A: Medicare and Social Security Administration representatives will never ask you for personal information, such as your Social Security number, bank account information, or your Medicare identification number. They already have all the information that they need to serve you.
When calling 1-800-MEDICARE or your private insurance plan, you’ll have to provide your Medicare or plan identification number to verify who you are in order to speak with a representative. Agents won’t ask you for personal details outside of this process, and Medicare and Social Security will never call you unsolicited to ask for personal information. You should be suspicious of calls like this purporting to be from government sources.
People enrolled in Medicare Advantage or Part D may be contacted by their insurers for various reasons, but the insurers should never ask for your Medicare or Social Security information. Scammers can use this information to bill Medicare for services you never receive.
In a process that began in 2018 and was to finished by 2019, Medicare mailed new cards to all beneficiaries. The cards have unique identification numbers replacing the Social Security numbers on old Medicare cards. CMS and state insurance departments warned consumers to be on the lookout for scammers during this process.
More recently during the coronavirus pandemic, scammers have been contacting Medicare beneficiaries offering testing services in return for personal information.
Be suspicious of anyone who visits your home or calls you asking for your information. Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to report suspicious phone calls. Additionally, Senior Medicare Patrols (SMPs) in each state are staffed by retired professionals and help Medicare beneficiaries prevent, detect and report Medicare fraud.