Better Business Bureau warns against Affordable Care Act scammers
Updated October 23, 2013
Consumers across the country are reporting receiving phone calls about new health insurance cards required by the Affordable Care Act from people claiming to be from the government. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers that this is a scam that began surfacing as the October implementation date for the Health Insurance Marketplace approached.
The scam involves consumers receiving a call from someone claiming to be from the federal government. The caller informs the receiver that they have been selected as part of the initial group of Americans to receive insurance cards through the new Affordable Care Act. However, before the caller can mail the card, the receiver needs to verify personal information such as bank account and Social Security numbers.
The BBB urges consumers to ignore these pitches and make note of the following precautions:
Be cautious with your identity. Never give personal information to someone who has contacted you unsolicited, whether by phone, email, social media or in person.
Hang up, don't press any buttons and don't call back. Returning the phone call may give the con artist information he can use.
The government uses regular mail. Government agencies normally communicate through the mail, so be cautious of calls, text messages or emails.
Don't trust caller ID. Scammers have technology that lets them display any number or organization name on your screen.
Keep your personal information to yourself. Never give out personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, date of birth or Social Security numbers to unfamiliar callers.
"Con artists are taking advantage of people's confusion about what exactly the Affordable Care Act means for them," remarked Carrie A. Hurt, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. "Scammers' favorite tools are confusion and fear.
"This is the latest twist on the 'Medicare scam' that BBB has seen for years," she continued. "Whenever there is a new government program or new public policy, fraudsters will take advantage of people. But the simple fact is there is no Affordable Care card. It's a scam."
The BBB has issued several Scam Alerts warning consumers about scams related to Obamacare.
For more information on the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace, visit healthcare.gov. For tips you can trust, go to bbb.org. To report a scam or sign up for BBB Scam Alerts, log onto bbb.org/scam.