Scam of the day – March 31, 2014 – Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) scams

Today is the deadline for the applying for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) under the initial open enrollment period.  People required to enroll who have not started the process by today face being assessed with a financial penalty.   This is a great opportunity for uninsured people to purchase health insurance.  It is also a great opportunity for identity thieves and scam artists to take advantage of the confusion that surrounds the Affordable Care Act and try to steal your money and your personal information which they can use to make you a victim of identity theft.  There are a number of phony Affordable Care Act websites and people are also receiving calls from identity thieves and scammers posing as legitimate insurance brokers where the goal is merely to obtain your personal information and make you a victim of identity theft.

TIPS

Never give personal information to anyone over the phone who calls you regardless of who they say they are because you can never be sure of their true identity.  Even if your Caller ID indicates that they are legitimate, scammers and identity thieves are able to manipulate Caller ID through a technique called spoofing whereby they are able to make their call appear to be from a legitimate source.  As for websites dealing with the Affordable Care Act, the problems initially occurring with the functioning of the website have been eliminated.  The best source of information both as to how to learn about the Affordable Care Act and to sign up for a plan is https://www.healthcare.gov/

 

Scam of the day – November 3, 2013 – Affordable Care Act security problems

I have been warning everyone about scams tied to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for more than a year and I have increased my warnings about the various scams tied to the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, over the last couple of months.  For more details about the many scams that scammers and identity thieves are doing that relate to the Affordable Care Act, I suggest that you go through the archives of Scamicide.  However, today I want to remind you about a problem I have been concerned with since the Affordable Care Act was still in the planning stages and that is the lack of security to protect against identity theft in the insurance exchanges and the healthcare.gov website.  My concern was due to the fact that the insurance exchanges and the Affordable Care Act website appeared to me to provide too many vulnerabilities for the theft of personal information that could turn many people into victims of identity theft.  I was particularly concerned with the continuous postponing of the final security testing of the website and the system.  Now it appears that an internal memorandum of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that was leaked to the Associated Press confirms my fears that the system presently has not been sufficiently tested for security flaws and that the security risk is high.

TIPS

What can you do about this if you are someone who needs to enroll with the Affordable Care Act?  My suggestion is two-fold.  First I would wait to apply since you do not need to apply under the present rules until March.  Second, I suggest that you put a credit freeze on your credit report, which is a good idea in any event because a credit freeze will prevent an identity thief who already has some of your personal information from utilizing that information to access your credit and make a large purchase.  For information as to how to do a credit freeze, you should click on the credit freeze section of Scamicide on the right hand side of this page.

Scam of the day – November 2, 2013 – Hacker arrested for hacking into federal agencies

With all of the discussion about the problems involved with the launch of the Affordable Care Act’s website, it is important to remember that a major problem with the website still appears to be the security of the data it is and will be collecting.  The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee this week repeated his concern as to the security of the data that will be flowing through the system and despite the assurances of Health and Human services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the website will not retain or store information and that the website is a “model of efficiency and security,” many of us are unconvinced.  This situation is emphasized by the recent arrest of British citizen Lauri Love on charges of hacking into computer data systems of the U.S. Army, the Environmental Protection Agency as well as other federal agencies.  Although according to law enforcement Love’s intent was not to use this information for purposes of identity theft, it does not change the fact that frankly many federal agencies that hold data on millions of people are vulnerable to hacking and having that information used for identity theft.

TIPS

In regard to the website of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare as it is often described, my advice is not to be in a rush to sign up through the website as it is presently constituted.  I see too many flaws that could be exploited for identity theft purposes at the present time to make this a good choice.  Remember, if you are required to sign up for medical insurance under the Affordable Care Act, you have until March to do so.  A little procrastination may actually be a good thing while improvements and changes are made to the website and the system.  In regard to your risk of being a victim of identity theft through information stolen from other state or federal agencies that hold your personal information, my advice is to limit as much as possible all of the places, private enterprise and government agencies that have and hold your personal information.   It is impossible, however, to completely avoid providing your personal information to all governmental agencies and private businesses so in order to help protect yourself, I urge you to put a credit freeze on your credit report which can provide help even if personal information such as your Social Security number is stolen.  You can find instructions as to how to do a credit freeze in the list of scam topics on the right hand side of this page and in the Scamicide archives.

Scam of the day – October 1, 2013 – Obamacare scams surge

Halloween is thirty days away, but today is a scary day for many people who don’t even know that they should be afraid.  Today is the first day that the insurance exchanges which are at the heart of the Affordable Care Act, most often called Obamacare, will be operating.  These insurance exchanges which are operating in every state will help people sign up for insurance between now and the start of 2014 in order to comply with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  I have been warning you for months now about the many scams tied to the Affordable Care Act, but they will truly shifting into high gear now.  You will receive emails, texts and phone calls from people purporting to be government workers involved with the insurance exchanges who will ask you for personal information in order to sign you up for an insurance program that they tell you is mandated by law.  In some instances, the scammers have even told people that if they do not provide the information requested and sign up for a program, they will be arrested.  The truth is that if you receive a call, text or email from someone seeking to sign you up through the insurance exchanges, it is a scam with the sole intention of taking your personal information and turning you into a victim of identity theft.

TIPS

The insurance exchanges will not be reaching out to people by phone, text or email to sign people up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act so anytime you receive such a call you can be confident that it is a scam.  In fact, because it is so easy to “spoof” a telephone call so that on your caller ID the call appears legitimate, you should never give personal information to anyone who calls you, texts you or emails you because you just can’t be sure that they are who they say they are.  If you think a call, email or text requesting information might be legitimate, you should call the organization or company purporting to contact you at a telephone number that you know is accurate to find out whether or not the call was legitimate.  As for questions about the Affordable Care Act, go to the official government website https://www.healthcare.gov/  There you will find information upon which you can rely.