Not too long ago, the United States Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, there has been confusion – some of it helped along by misleading information – about what the law entails, and what will happen next.
It is not surprising that, as a result of the confusion and uncertainty, there are scammers out there taking advantage of the situation. You need to be on your guard for the latest in a round of scams related to the health care law.
Phishing for Information Using the Health Care Law
One of the most common ways that scammers try to get information is by phishing. They pretend to be someone legit in the hopes that you will divulge personal information. In the case of these scams, the goal is to try and get some or all of the following information:
- Medicare ID number
- Social Security number
- Credit card number
- Bank account information
- Other personal information
One of the ploys is that it is the government is calling, and that some of your information needs to be verified, because of the new law. Others might claim to be from a health insurance company, or from some other organization or agency. You can’t rely on your caller ID, either, since it’s possible to spoof caller ID to give you a greater sense of security about what is happening.
It’s important to be on your guard against these types of scammers. Realize that government agencies don’t call and ask for personal information. If there is information that is needed for your Medicare claim, or for some other reason, you will most likely be contacted via regular mail. The same is true for most health insurance companies. Most of the time, changes to your policy arrive in writing — not in the form of a phone call asking you for personal information.
Don’t Give Out Personal Information to those Who Call
Don’t just give out personal information to anyone who calls you up. Whether it’s someone claiming to be a charity and asking for your credit card number, or whether it’s someone claiming to be from the government and asking for your Social Security number to confirm your health care benefits, don’t provide personal information over the phone.
If you receive a call requesting personal information, hang up, and then look for the information you have. You should have a contact number for Medicare issues. If you have private health insurance, the government won’t be administering your plan anyway; health insurance is still very much a private thing for the most part. Call your health insurance company’s customer service number.
You can report suspicious calls to the FTC as well. You can complain at the FTC web site, or you can call 877-FTC-HELP. Reporting these issues brings greater attention to the problem, and can help get the word out to a wider audience. Not only should you be vigilant, but you can also help others see what they are up against — and encourage them to be vigilant as well.