Open enrollment for Medicare is in full swing. (Ask any senior citizen how many telemarketing calls or mailings they’re getting right now.) That’s why it’s important to heed a Milwaukee woman’s warning about a Medicare ‘gold chip’ card scheme. Paula Rhyner, 67, answered what she though was a harmless phone call, but almost had her identity stolen while talking to a con-artist posing as a Medicare rep.
The purported Medicare representative called to see if Rhyner had received her new Medicare card with a gold chip. She knew that Medicare cards were not like credit or debit cards and did not contain a gold chip. (This is ironic because microchips encrypt transactions for greater data security. That’s the last thing that fraudsters want you to use.)
The fraudulent Medicare rep told Rhyner that she would soon be receiving a new card containing a gold chip, then asked for the correct spelling of her name. That’s when she knew something was up. (Wouldn’t they already know how her name was spelled? Once a fraudster gets a foothold into someone’s personal identity, the world is their oyster.)
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) is familiar with fraudulent attempts to take advantage of senior citizens. They released a statement explaining that Medicare cards do NOT have a chip. Additionally, Medicare never calls to confirm receipt of a new card or to ask if a beneficiary wanted to have their current card replaced or updated. To do so, Medicare beneficiaries would need to contact Medicare directly to request assistance.
CMS also stated that Medicare would never contact a beneficiary for their Medicare number or any other personal information unless the agency has been given permission in advance. (It’s also important to remember that Medicare cannot enroll you over the phone unless you called the agency first.)
Medicare will never call you to sell anything or promise beneficiary services or benefits in exchange for providing their Medicare number over the phone. If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be with Medicare, hang up without providing any personal information. (Stay vigilant. There are many fraudsters out there who would love to collect your benefits and leave you high and dry.)
For more information on spotting fraud or reporting an issue/concern, visit https://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-resources/help-fight-medicare-fraud [medicare.gov] or call 1-800-MEDICARE.
Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Milwaukee woman warns other seniors about Medicare ‘gold chip’ card scheme,”published by WTMJ-TV at tmj4.com on September 30, 2021.
MILWAUKEE — Open enrollment for Medicare starts next month, and this is when we start seeing more of those unsolicited calls where con-artists pose as Medicare reps seeking your personal information.
It happened to 67-year-old Paula Rhyner of Milwaukee recently. She figured a phone call with a 414 area code would be harmless.