BOSTON (CBS) – We get smartphones and scammers somehow figure out how to outsmart us and our smartphones.

As one ages we do lose the ability to rationalize and our decisions are not always smart. AARP had a great article last month about Medicare scams.

Medicare scams occur all year but during open enrollment period which started October 15th and runs through December 7th they occur more often. During open enrollment Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their 2015 Medigap health plans and their part D prescription coverage.

Identity thieves are always looking for the opportune time and realize this. Medicare recipients are being bombarded with letters, postcards, and e-mails from health insurers explaining why they have the superior product.

Already on over load from all of this information an elder may be vulnerable.

According to the AARP article the most common scheme is that the scammer will pose as a Federal employee from Medicare or another government agency. They claim that new Medicare cards are being issued. To get the new card, they will need the elder to verify or update sensitive information, including their Medicare number, which is also their Social Security number.

Warn the elders in your life. “Medicare will never call you and ask you for your personal information, such as your Medicare number, over the phone. Never,” says Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesman Aaron Albright. And Medicare will not email you or knock on your door unannounced asking for data that it already has.

And Medicare has no plans to issue new Medicare cards. A 2011 report concluded that changing the system would cost upward of $845 million and they don’t have the money to do that.

If your card is lost or stolen you can replace your Medicare card in one of the following ways:

  • Log into your MyMedicare.gov account & request a replacement Medicare card online
  • Call Social Security (SSA) at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778)
  • Visit your local SSA office

One more thing: Take your Medicare card, which is paper, to Staples and have them laminate it for you. Cost is around $1. Do not leave it there, wait for it.

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You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

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