Social Security recipients, Medicare beneficiaries targets of new scams

Another new scam is targeting people who receive Social Security benefits.

A scammer calls from a 323 area code, posing as a Social Security Administration employee. In some instances, the scammer tells the victim he or she is due a cost-of-living increase in their Social Security benefit. The caller then tries to get the victim to “verify” their Social Security number, name, date of birth, and other personal information. If the scammer succeeds, they use the information to make changes to the victim’s direct deposit, address, and telephone information.

Never provide information such as your Social Security number or bank account number to unknown people over the phone or internet. If you have questions about any Social Security communication – a call, letter, or email – contact your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213.

Medicare Scam

New Medicare cards arriving next year will no longer include Social Security numbers, a move designed to protect against fraud and identity theft. Having your Social Security number removed from your Medicare card will help fight medical identity theft and protect both your medical and financial information.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will begin mailing new Medicare cards to beneficiaries in April 2018. The cards will automatically be mailed to all current beneficiaries by April 2019, so you don’t need to do anything to receive one.

Scams relating to the new card are already surfacing. Some Medicare recipients report getting calls from scammers who tell them they must pay for the new card and then ask them for their checking account and Medicare card numbers. You won’t have to pay anyone or give anyone information, no matter what someone might tell you on the phone. Don’t give out either number.

If someone calls claiming to be from Medicare, and asks for your Social Security number or bank information, just hang up. It’s a scam. Medicare won’t call you and Medicare will never ask for your Social Security number or bank information.

Fraud Presentations in Your Community

AARP has a group of volunteers who are trained to be “Fraud Fighters,” and are willing to provide valuable presentations to help protect North Dakotans from fraud and scams. The Fraud Fighters are equipped with resources and up-to-date information to help safeguard against identity theft and other scams.

Presentations include information on how to spot and avoid scams, and how to protect yourself and your family. If you know of an organization or service club that would be interested in offering a Fraud Watch Network presentation to alert people to scams and fraud, please email AARPND@aarp.org, or call 355-3643 or toll-free 866-554-5383.