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Don't Fall for Obamacare Phone Scams



 by Patricia Lynn Henley   Posted on September 26 2013



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The Federal Trade Commission says phone scammers are the only ones calling people about Obamacare -- and the FTC wants to know when you hear from them.

"The government will not call you about your health insurance; and no one from the government will ask you to verify your Social Security number or bank information," warns an FTC consumer information alert. "Some government agencies might send you a letter (for example, Medicare and the IRS), but they will never ask you to wire them money or give your credit card number."

Open enrollment starts Oct. 1 for the health insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act (the official name for Obamacare). The FTC is asking consumers to report any type of attempted phone fraud related to the Affordable Care Act. To file a report, go to FTCComplaintAssistant.gov or call 1-877-382-4357.

Telephone scammers apparently follow media reports fairly closely, and know that many people are confused or worried about how they will be personally affected by this change. These criminals call, saying they need a social security number or other information in order to help, or to prevent the loss of coverage.

Never give any personal details over the telephone.

Based on reports already received from consumers, the FTC warns against callers offering help for a fee (official navigators or assistors are not allowed to charge); insisting Medicare coverage will be lost without providing personal information for a new card (not true); promoting a discount medical plan that they claim meets the minimum coverage requirement (discount plans are not insurance and either don't exist or don't meet the requirements); and pretending to be from the government.

For official and accurate information about health care plans under the Affordable Care Act, go to Healthcare.gov/Quick-Answers, or to LocalHelp.Healthcare.gov for details by city and state or zip code.

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