Changes to Medicare could put you at risk for identity theft

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — News changes to Medicare are supposed to combat identity theft, but until those cards come in, it could make Mid-South citizens more susceptible to con-artists.

According to Randy Hutchinson with the Better Business Bureau, Medicare currently uses a recipient's social security number as their account number essentially - creating a potential security risk. Those numbers are currently being changed to a randomly generated number to protect Americans.

They will be mailed out automatically in waves between now and April 2019.

The concern, Hutchinson said, is that scammers will see this as an opportunity to steal your identity.

They may tell you there are new benefits which will cost you extra or there's a fee you need to pay before they send you your card. Still, others may say they need to verify some of your information such as social security number, home address or other personal information.

Bottom line is that Medicare will not call you. If you receive a call from someone saying they are from the government simply hang up, Hutchinson said.

If you don't receive your card by May 2019 then you can reach out to Medicare for assistance.

When you do receive your card, be sure to shred the old one.

Note: The changes do not apply to those on the Medicare Advantage program.

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