3OYS: Beware of Obamacare scamsPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- Consumers have waited a long time for Obamacare. But now that it's here, a lot of confusion surrounds it.
"Anytime there is something new in the marketplace that there are a lot of questions or confusion about, people tend to get calls from scammers.”
Felicia Thompson is with the Phoenix Better Business Bureau and says confusion is a great launching platform for scammers.
“Scammers use confusion as an opportunity to mislead people and to make money,” she says.
Thompson says so far, scammers are using one particular method to get money or personal information from people. She says the common thread is a phone call
"What we're seeing specifically are people getting phone calls from people claiming to be from the federal government representing the affordable care act program and using that confusion to mislead people," she warns.
And, according to Thompson, another scam was brought to her attention today regarding telephone calls.
“A woman got a pre-recorded telemarketing message asking her to participate in a survey," Thompson tell us. "She did the survey thinking she would give her opinion about the Affordable Healthcare Act, and at the end of it, they asked her for money to be enrolled in a drawing.”
To keep from getting ripped off, here are some of the most common scams surrounding Obamacare and what you need to look out for:
The first red flag is someone who asks for money or wants to charge for advice. Someone may call offering to help enroll you for a fee, but the truth is, official helpers aren't allowed to charge you anything.
Another scam involves a medical card. Scammers may tell you that you need a medical card, and they will want to charge you for one or say you need to be issued a new Medicare card. They might then ask for your Social Security number, and bank or credit card information to get you another card. Don't fall for it.
“If you get that phone call saying that you're in that special group of folks to get a card, there's no Affordable Care Act card,” says Thompson
Medical discount plans could point to another scam. Some con artists are offering discount plans but the FTC warns that some of these so-called "plans" don’t give you the promised services, or are just attempts to get personal or financial information.
And finally, beware of government impostors. Scammers are calling, texting, or emailing, claiming to be "government officials” who need to verify your social security number or bank information to discuss the new healthcare plan
“Folks are unfortunately falling for it, and they're giving their social security numbers to these folks and they're giving their bank account information, and once scammers have that information, the sky's the limit of what they can do," cautions Thompson.