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New Medicare cards could make seniors vulnerable to new scams

The Medicare card 57 million seniors have in their wallet is getting a makeover. The Social Security number on the front will be replaced with a different ID number.

On the one hand these new medicare cards are supposed to help better protect seniors from identity theft., but the change itself, also makes them more open to scams.

Aging well is a delicate balance of staying active, mentally sharp, and in recent decades, avoiding scams.

"They prey on seniors, they really do," said Louretta Davis a 72-year-old in Spartanburg.

Chester Lawson, another Spartanburg senior agrees.

"They are the scum of the earth as far as I'm concerned," he said.

And now scammers have a new opportunity to target the elderly, as the government begins sending out new the new medicare cards.

It solves one problem:

"You have to be very very careful when you have this on your person because if you lose it or someone gets possession of it, they can access all your personal information," said Davis.

But when a change affects 57 million seniors, there is a growing concern.

"Here's a great opportunity for somebody to sit down and really get a hold of senior's information. Very easy," said Cindy Tobias who heads the Shepherd Senior Center in Spartanburg.

She warns, the scam could come in the form of a phone call, pretending to be from the government. The caller may try to steal your identity by claiming you need to verify it to activate the card.

Chester Lawson, who gets flooded with scam calls says it's easy for them to spoof the number and make it look like it's from Washington D.C.

"Keep in mind, the roll out of this new card is going to be automatic. You don't have to do anything, especially give out your private information."

The cards will start appearing in the mail in the Spring of 2018 and continue through April of 2019.

Knowing the facts now, will help seniors stay one step ahead of scammers.


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