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Seniors, beware of new Medicare scams

Liz Evans Scolforo
505-5429/@LizScolforoYD

York County officials are warning senior citizens to beware of scams related to Medicare's Social Security Number Removal Initiative.

The federal government is required by law to remove Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards by April 2019 and to replace them with new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier numbers, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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It's being done to fight medical identity theft, according to the feds.

Medicare recipients will automatically receive their new cards.

There is no cost for the new Medicare cards, and citizens are under no obligation to provide updated information for it, according to a fraud alert bulletin from the York County Elder Abuse Task Force.

The task force advises people not to carry their Medicare cards regularly, only when they are needed, and warns that scammers will keep trying to steal identities.

If someone calls you claiming to be from Medicare and asking for your Social Security number or other information, simply hang up, the bulletin states. Also hang up if someone is asking you to pay for your new Medicare card.

And if someone calls claiming to be from Medicare and threatening to cancel your benefits if you don't pay or provide bank information, it's a scam — just hang up, according to the bulletin.

If you believe someone has scammed you, or has tried to scam you, the task force asks that you report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.