CHICAGO—With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, commonly labeled “Obamacare,” on the horizon, scammers are finding it to be the latest opportunity to steal people’s identities.
“Scammers are calling consumers claiming they are eligible for health insurance cards in exchange for personal information,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Consumers should ignore these calls because providing information puts you at risk for identity theft.”
Bernas explained the scams work like this: You receive a call from someone claiming to be from the federal government. The scammer says that you have been selected to be part of a group of Americans to receive insurance cards. But before the card can be mailed, your bank account and social security numbers are required. Once they get this information, they can sell it or use it to access your accounts.
“Affordable Care Act scammers are able to easily make consumers think that their calls are legit, especially with such a hot topic like Obamacare,” Bernas said. “Consumers need to realize that the government rarely calls individuals. If you receive this type of call, hang up.”
The BBB offers the following tips to people who experience the affordable healthcare scams:
• Hang up the phone. If you get one of these calls, just hang up. You may be tempted to call back, but this will only give the scammer another opportunity to steal your information. Also, be sure not to press any buttons that the scammer instructs.
• Never give out personal information. Never give out your bank account numbers, date of birth, credit card number or social security number.
• Don’t rely on caller ID. Some scammers are able to display a company’s name or phone number on the caller ID screen. Don’t trust that the information you see is true.
• The government rarely communicates via phone calls. Most of the time, the government uses traditional snail mail to communicate to consumers. The government rarely calls, emails or texts, so don’t give your information to these types of government messages.
For more tips and information about affordable healthcare scams, visit www.BBBit.org.