NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. (10/1/13)--This month, millions of consumers will begin shopping for health plans using the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's (ACA) federal and state-based health exchanges. Unfortunately, scammers looking to get hold of consumers' personal information also will be out in full force (Bankrate.com
The Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C., already has spotted several scams (CNNMoney
- Medicaid cards--Scammers tell you that the ACA requires you to get a new Medicaid card so you don't lose coverage. Scammers will tell you they need your Social Security number, financial account numbers, and credit card information to process the new card.
- Charging for advice--Scammers call and offer to "help" enroll you in the insurance exchange for a small fee or tell you that you need a new insurance card to avoid penalties. They'll need your personal information to do this.
- Government imposters--Scammers call, e-mail, or text you to talk about health insurance or verify your personal information. Government officials will not call you about your health insurance coverage and would never ask you to verify personal information over the phone.
If you're shopping for health insurance using an exchange, use this advice to safeguard your identity:
- Never give out personal information to anyone who calls or shows up at your home.
- Don't sign blank insurance forms--Scammers might offer to fill the forms out for you if you'll just sign your name.
- Watch for bogus websites luring consumers to give up personal information--When looking for health exchange information online, look for sites ending in ".gov" and look for official government seals and logos.
- Ignore offers that sound too good to be true--The U.S. government doesn't offer promotions of winning cruises, vacations or other prizes.
For related information, read "Life Changes Trigger Financial Changes" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center