Grand Island Police warn there has been a significant increase in scammers taking advantage of those confused by the new changes that come with the Affordable Care Act.
The Federal Trade Commission ( FTC) has found healthcare fraud to be on the rise and is expecting it to increase in the following months.
“It’s estimated that 60 percent of Americans still don’t understand how the Affordable Care Act affects them. Scammers are exploiting widespread confusion to defraud consumers in the name of Obamacare,” explains Scambook’s Director of Marketing Kase Chong.
Here are some of the scams Scambook is talking about:
1) The victim receives a phone call from a scammer who claims to represent the government, informing them that they need an “Obamacare Card” to be eligible for the Affordable Care Act. Other scammers may offer a discount card or a discount plan for prescriptions. The victim is asked to pay upfront or the scammer may tell them the card is free if they provide their social security number or other personal information. At this time Consumers need to be aware there is no such thing as an Obamacare Card or Affordable Care Card.
2) Fraudsters posing as Medicare officials call consumers to update or verify personal information, with consequences if they don’t comply. However, nothing in the Affordable Care Act threatens existing benefits for Medicare enrollees. DO NOT RESPOND to cold callers and contact your Medicare representatives directly. Senior citizens are common targets, as they are more likely to give away their social security number and personal information, putting them at a higher risk of identity theft and other frauds.
3) To assist consumers with their transition into healthcare plans under the Affordable Care Act, the government is sponsoring the training and certification of “healthcare navigators” to help them purchase insurance. Scammers are cashing in by impersonating these navigators and stealing the consumer’s money or personal information. Don’t give any information to a “navigator” who cold calls you.
4) This scam has taken on a variety of sub-versions including: selling of fake healthcare coverage, manipulating consumers into paying upfront fee for the Affordable Care Act healthcare benefits to take effect, and even the threat of jail if the fake enrollment fees are not paid. Victims should never wire money via Western Union or send a prepaid card to unsolicited callers under any circumstances.
5) The public should watch out for fake health exchange websites, designed to mimic real sites, but instead stealing user’s personal information or infecting their computer with malware. Don't click links from unknown senders.