JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A lot of Americans have concerns about the Affordable Care Act, but even those in favor of the new program have one big reason to be worried.
From government officials to the local Better Business Bureau, many say enrollment may open the flood gates to identity theft. If you're signing up for health care, you need to know that you are a target! That's why we have several things you need to know to spot scams and keep your personal information protected.
Your first step when you go to the website healthcare.gov is to make sure you're on the right site. Type in the address yourself and do not ever click through from an email or other source. In addition, the government is not going to call selling you insurance.
Tom Stephens, President of the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida, says to be leery of anyone that contacts you and says they're with the government. He explains an easy way to spot a scammer.
"Usually they'll say Obamacare and that's sort of a tip off that it's a scam. If it was a real government employee, they would use the technical name of the act which is the Affordable Care Act. But, any call is a tip-off because they're not going to contact you and try to sell you anything," said Stephens.
While you may be contacted by local providers, if they are legitimate, they won't ask for your personal information. Make sure you never give that out over the phone.
Something else scammers are trying related to enrollment for this new act, they tell you that you will go to jail for missing the deadline. This is not true. However, if you miss the deadline, you may face a penalty of close to $300.
Another thing to watch for is limited time offers. There aren't any! Rates will be stable throughout the enrollment period, which started October 1st and goes through March 31st of 2014.
Stephens says people in our area are already being contacted by con-artists.
"There are people who are very good at looking for opportunities to scam people," warned Stephens. "They've even started in some areas knocking on doors and claiming they're with the government and they need to get you enrolled in Obamacare and get your social security number, personal information, etc. "
Again, if this happens, don't give out your personal information. That is exactly what they are after.
For those on Medicare, there are few changes to your insurance with this new law so if someone calls claiming you need a new card, this is also a scam.
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