Obamacare: A Feeding Frenzy for Scammers? [AUDIO]
The next few weeks, even months, may be a dream come true for scam artists. Obamacare, and the rules and confusion that come with it, are serving as an open invitation for fraudsters to swoop in and steal sensitive information.
Open enrollment through an online Health Insurance Marketplace begins October 1. Millions of uninsured Americans, or those unhappy with the benefits they’re currently receiving, can shop for coverage by comparing plans and finding the ones that work best for them.
The sites are already up and running to address questions and concerns, but not all sites are legit. According to Sam Imandoust with the Identity Theft Resource Center, identity thieves can “game the Google search mechanics” and lead innocent victims to fraudulent sites.
“Creating fake government websites is actually one of the most popular scams,” Imandoust said. “And medical identity theft is one of the hardest forms of identity theft to remediate.”
The official site to be used by residents of most states, including New Jersey, is www.healthcare.gov. It’s important to remember that no plan can be sold before October 1.
Seventeen states have opted to run their own exchange with a unique URL.
Experts have seen Obamacare-related scams since last year. By calling or e-mailing people across the country, pretending to be part of the healthcare transfer, con artists would ask victims to “verify” personal information like a bank account number or Social Security Number.
“Whenever this type of new policy, or any kind of information transfer, occurs, identity thieves are always on the lookout to see how they can get a piece of the action,” said Imandoust.