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New Medicare cards come with new possible scams, Federal Trade Commission warns

| Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 11:18 a.m.

Medicare will send new cards to enrollees starting in April, and the Federal Trade Commission has a few tips for how to avoid getting scammed during the process.

First, Medicare is mailing the cards free of charge to the address each enrollee has on file with the Social Security Administration. If anyone contacts you claiming you have to pay or provide personal information to get the card, they're lying.

The whole point of the new cards is that Medicare is replacing your Social Security number on the card with a unique Medicare number to protect your identity. Medicare will not call you asking for your Social Security number or bank account information, the FTC said.

The agency also warns that Medicare is mailing the cards in waves, so people in some states will receive theirs months before people in other states do. Pennsylvania is in the first wave, with the cards being mailed between April and June, according to the schedule.

When you get your new card, shred your old one — though not your separate Medicare Advantage card, if you have one. Keep it because you'll still need that card.

Finally, while removing the Social Security number eliminates that threat, people could still misuse your new Medicare ID number, so guard it the same way you would your other personal information, the agency says.

Brian Bowling is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1218, or via Twitter @TribBrian.

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