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.
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.