An elder law attorney at Mark S. Eghrari & Associates, PLLC can help seniors to take steps to protect their assets. There are many different potential sources of loss seniors face, from the potential for high nursing home care bills to the risk of their estate owing substantial taxes when they pass away. Seniors are also especially vulnerable to being scammed and are often targeted by thieves who behave in a dishonest way to try to get elderly people to give up their hard-earned money.
One recent scam targeting seniors centers around new Medicare cards that are being sent out. The government is changing Medicare cards to make seniors less vulnerable to having their identities stolen, but thieves are taking advantage of the transition and the fact some seniors may be confused about what is happening in order to get money or personal information from seniors. It is important for seniors to be aware of this scam and to know the form that it takes so they can avoid being targeted.
Seniors are Being Targeted by Scammers in Connection with New Medicare Cards
CNN recently wrote about the new Medicare cards that are being mailed to seniors, along with the techniques that scammers are using. The change to the new cards is necessary because current Medicare cards contain the Social Security number of the Medicare member. This means anyone who has access to the card has some of the most important personal information a senior has. If the card is stolen, for example, the thief could use the Social Security number from the Medicare card to apply for new credit.
The new Medicare cards will not include the Social Security number of the member, but will instead use an 11-digit education number. Approximately 59 million Medicare members will be receiving new cards over the upcoming year. However, seniors who are covered by a Medicare Advantage plan can continue to use their existing cards that do not contain Social Security numbers.
The problem is, many seniors don’t know very much about the new cards, the process by which existing cards will be replaced, or the timeline when they will receive their new cards. Seniors do not actually have to do anything to get their new card, other than making certain their address is updated with the Social Security Administration. But, scammers are calling seniors to tell them they need to provide information or pay money.
There are a number of different scams targeting seniors. Some seniors receive phone calls with the scammer claiming that details need to be verified or updated. Seniors may be asked to provide their Social Security number or existing Medicare card number. Providing either can make them very vulnerable to having their identities stolen. Seniors may also be told that they need to pay for a new Medicare card and asked to provide credit card or bank information, or to wire money or provide the numbers on a prepaid gift certificate.
Seniors need to understand the scams that are going on and avoid giving out information to those who wish to harm them. Medicare has made clear that it will not ask for personal identifying details over the phone and there is no charge for a new Medicare card. If seniors receive a call from someone asking for information or money, they should hang up and can report the scams by contacting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or using the Online Complaint Assistant.
Getting Help from an Elder Law Attorney
An elder law attorney at Mark S. Eghrari & Associates, PLLC can provide help to seniors in taking as many steps as possible to safeguard their assets from as many potential sources of loss as possible. To find out more about how our firm can help you to protect your wealth as you age, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online at any time for personalized help with your asset protection plans.