As uninsured Americans rush to register for health coverage on the new nationwide marketplace launched Tuesday, Oct. 1, through HealthCare.gov, a series of scams have surfaced that attempt to steal personal information like Social Security and credit card numbers.
Below are a list of scams that target unsuspecting consumers, with promises of fake coverage and products related to Obamacare.
1. The Fake Obamacare Card
According to the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, scam artists pretending to be government employees are telling consumers that under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they must acquire a special Obamacare card. To have the card issued, consumers must provide information like their Social Security and bank account numbers to so-called “employees” of government organizations. This information is false -- Obamacare cards do not exist.
2. Fake Websites Claiming to Sell Obamacare
According to Fraud.org, consumers in Massachusetts have been targeted by scammers claiming to sell insurance policies. This may be done via phishing emails leading to fake websites, which target seniors and try to get them to provide personal information. In Kansas and Alabama, scammers pretending to be government employees have attempted to convince consumers to buy fraudulent coverage at a cost of $29.95 per month.
3. Government Employee Imposters Selling Insurance Over the Phone
Individuals looking for health-care coverage through the new marketplaces are receiving phone calls from scammers pretending to be government representatives selling insurance plans. In some instances, they may offer to sell “Temporary New Law” insurance for those who have pre-existing conditions. This too is false.
To avoid falling victim to an ACA scam, the Office of Inspector General with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that consumers should take note of the following safety precautions.
1. Remember that legitimate enrollment staff will never ask for money.
2. Always ask for identification from someone asking you to enroll in the new marketplace. Threats of legal action if you do not sign up for a plan may also be a sign that you're being scammed. No legitimate person or organization should threaten consumers with legal action.
3. People you did not contact who request your personal information may be attempting identify theft. Government employees will not call or email consumers to sell them an insurance plan and will not ask for personal information like credit card, bank account and Social Security numbers.
4. Only use official government websites to enroll in the marketplace. Be sure to look for official government seals, logos or website addresses. Without them, you may be providing personal information to a fake website operated by people who intend to defraud you.
5. Medicare recipients do not need to purchase a plan through the new marketplace.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is asking consumers to report fraudulent activity related to the new Health Insurance Marketplace by calling 1-800-318-2596.