Action13

Scammers using Affordable Care Act to con victims

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Affordable Health Care Act is still a month away from opening its enrollment, but scammers have already started their work. From cold calls to knocking on doors, con artists are pulling out all the stops in an effort to steal personal information.

You cannot sign up for the Affordable Health Care Act until October 1, but scammers are calling now trying to take advantage of your confusion over the law in an effort to steal your information.

Many of the the patients seen at this good neighbor health care center have no insurance and will be eligible to sign up for the Affordable Health Care Act, but right now that process is not happening.

"It's not going to start until October," said Dr. Pauline Ahemneze.

Dr. Ahemneze says no one can signup for the health care exchanges until October 1, so if you get a call or a visit from a person claiming otherwise, do not give out any personal information.

"No one should be calling you to say come and sign up," Ahemneze said.

But those calls are being made. According to the Better Business Bureau, consumers across the country are being targeted by scammers using the upcoming sign-up period as a ploy to get personal information from unsuspecting victims.

"These are calls from scammers; instead of being legitimate, they are trying to get people's personal information, their bank account numbers, Social Security numbers," said Leah Napoliello with the Houston BBB.

Napoliello says scammers are telling victims they must sign up to comply with the law.

"They are claiming that they are the government when they call, and they that say you are now eligible to receive health insurance from the government, but they ask for your Social Security number, bank account number over the phone and if you give that you could be scammed," Napoliello said.

The scammer even spoof caller ID numbers so you can not rely on that for protection. Bottom line: No one can sign up for Affordable Care Act until October 1. And even then, sign ups will happen at community centers and health care clinics, and not by phone.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13

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