September 3, 2018 — Scammers are always looking for the latest way to separate you from your money. The newest is centered on the new Medicare cards that are in the process of being sent out. The scam usually comes in the form of a phone call with an offer to get your card on an expedited basis – all they need is some personal information. Their object is to steal your identity, and maybe more. We will also discuss two other common scams to look out for.
Everyone enrolled in Medicare will be getting a new card soon, if not already. You don’t have to do anything, yours will come if you are in Medicare. They are being sent out in waves. Once you get your new card, which will have a new number, not your Social Security number, you can destroy your old card. There is no need to panic if you don’t have your card yet – you can continue to use your old card until the end of 2019.
Here is more about when the new Medicare cards will ship to each state, along with a way to be sent an email telling you when yours will go out.
Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask you to give personal or private information to get your new Medicare Number and card. Scam artists may try to get personal information (like your current Medicare Number) by contacting you about your new card. If someone asks you for your information, for money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your personal information, hang up and call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
Also, it might help some to know that, this website helps you identify who’s phone number it is that is calling, even if they blocked it! Thankfully these kinds of services are more common now and no doubt are a response to the influx of these practices.
Medicare has some updated information on the new cards, including when you will get yours and how to protect yourself, on this Medicare card page.
Scary Calls from the IRS
The first problem with a scary call from the IRS is, the IRS will never call you. They will write. Just today your editor got a call from someone purporting to either be from the IRS, or who could help me with the IRS. According to the call I am about to fined or arrested for some tax malfeasance, but, if I contact the caller they can get me out of the jam. Unfortunately there are far too many of these calls. If you get a call from someone who says they are from the IRS or that you have big problem with the IRS – hang up! They are just trying to part you and your money. If the IRS wants to talk with you, they will write.
Online car registration
Another dicey solicitation comes from etags.com, but this one is legal. It is however, expensive, and not necessary. Etags sends out emails offering to renew your FL car registration (and possibly other states) online. It will have your correct license plate number in the email. The problems in our case were twofold: the first was that the offer was for for a car we no longer owned (same model as we currently own but older) – we were halfway through the process before we realized that we were about to renew someone else’s car! The second problem is that although this private company charges some hefty fees ($33 in our case), those do not include the price of the state registration itself, that’s extra.
Better idea: If you go to the Florida DMV portal you can renew your registration for a $2 convenience fee, plus the actual registration charge. Other states are probably similar.
Comments? Do you know of any other scams Topretirements Members should know about? Let us know in the Comments section below.