The Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) has an October 1st deadline to open health-care exchanges.  As Lindsay Wise reports in The Washington Post, there are more and more scams being reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and consumer groups as the October 1st deadline approaches (“Confusion about Obamacare opens the door for fraud”; Page A13, July 15, 2013).  These scams play on consumers’ fears with threatening calls or emails — and consumers are being scared into turning over personal information to scammers.

What are some of the scams?  Here are just a few that are highlighted in The Washington Post article:

  1. Scammers claiming to be from the government call and offer an ACA card or threaten to have the consumers jailed if they don’t buy health insurance;
  2. Scammers claim to be from Medicare and tell the consumers they have to provide their personal and/or financial information in order to continue their Medicare eligibility because of the changes that will be coming under Obamacare;
  3. Scammers call or email claiming to be with “Obamacare” and say the consumers’ personal or financial information is needed in order to get the needed new Obamacare card.

The scammers are after consumers’ credit card numbers, financial information (e.g., bank account routing numbers), SSN and other information that can be used for an array of crimes including identity theft.

Consumers need to know that these threatening calls, emails and in person solicitations are all scams.  Consumers who get any one of these scams should report them to the FTC or to the Attorney General or insurance department of their respective states.