Be on your guard against sleazeballs pushing these five Obamacare fakes — and help keep your parents from being victims, too:
1. The nonexistent Obamacare card. The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning not to fall for the line that you need to get an Affordable Care Act insurance card in order to buy coverage.
“The simple fact is there is no Affordable Care card. It’s a scam,” says Carrie A. Hurt, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
As you might expect, con artists pitching the cards say they need to get your personal information, such as your Social Security number or bank account, before they can send one.
2. The phony “government employee” phone call. As my colleague Caroline Mayer recently wrote, law enforcement officials say elderly Americans are prime targets for this scam.
The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs, she noted, said an older resident was tricked into providing her Social Security number and medical information by someone claiming to be from the federal government who wanted to “confirm her eligibility” for Obamacare.
If you get a call like this, hang up. And tell your parents to do the same. Federal agencies generally contact people by mail, not by phone or email.
3. Bogus Obamacare navigators. The Affordable Care Act created a designated breed of advisers known as navigators; they generally work at places like the United Way and local agencies and their job is to help the public sign up for coverage. But Kiplinger’s Kim Lankford recently wrote that fraudsters are calling and emailing posing as navigators.
While claiming to steer you to the right coverage, they’re actually stealing your identity or selling phony health insurance. On top of that, they demand you pay a few hundred dollars for their services.
4. Obamacare websites that look real, but aren’t. Often after a natural disaster, websites pop up that appear to belong to well-known legitimate charities but actually aren’t. The same sort of thing is happening with Obamacare, except here, the sites are meant to look like ones from the insurance exchanges.
The “Pennsylvania Health Exchange” site was, in reality, run by a private insurance broker before regulators and news organizations got wind of it and the site went dark.
5. The Medicare scare tactic. AARP has received complaints from people over 65 who received frightening phone calls saying they’d lose their Medicare coverage unless they provided the caller with their Social Security number and other private information. Not true.
There’s apparently a lot of confusion about Medicare and Obamacare and the scammers have pounced on this.
6. The Obamacare National Lottery chose you as a winner, and they have $50,000,000 in health care vouchers for you as soon as you come up with a nominal processing fee.
Gee, I wonder why there’s so much confusion about what the ACA really is. It’s almost as if there’s a whole political wing who’s trying to muddle things…