Although some severe critics of the Affordable Care Act, which is more often referred to as “Obamacare,” have called it a scam, it is a legitimate federal health care program. However, as with just about every federal program and particularly those as complicated as the Affordable Care Act, identity thieves are exploiting the public’s limited awareness of how the program actually works in many instances to trick people into providing personal information to identity thieves who use this information to steal their victims’ identities at a great cost to the victims. The scam starts with a telephone call in which the caller misrepresents himself or herself as being a federal employee who is seeking personal information from the victim in order to issue new required national medical identification cards required under the Affordable Health Care Act. To many people, this sounds legitimate and so they provide their name, address, Social Security and even their bank account numbers in some instances when asked. The problem is that this is a scam and the identity thief on the other end of the line will take this information and steal your identity and empty your bank account.
The government is not issuing Affordable Care Act identification cards so if the caller tells you that, it is a scam. And even if the government were to issue such cards, they already have your name, address and Social Security number. The government would not need your bank account number. An identity thief would. As I often remind you, it is important to remember that you can never be sure of who really is on the other end of the line when you receive a telephone call. Even if you have caller ID, a clever identity thief can “spoof” or mimic a telephone number that will make it appear that the call is coming from a government agency when, in fact, it is not. Never give personal information over the phone to anyone whom you have not called. If the call appears to be from your bank or any other entity that might have a legitimate need for your information. Hang up and call the bank or other entity at a telephone number that you know is correct to verify whether or not you really do need to provide information.