The Better Business Bureau is warning people to be on the watch for health care law scams after a Nebraska woman was recently targeted.
“Scammers are already making calls to consumers, masquerading as government representatives, in an effort to gather sensitive financial and personal information,” said Jim Hegarty, president and chief executive of the BBB that serves Nebraska, South Dakota, the Kansas Plains and southwest Iowa.
“Consumers who receive such calls should ignore them. If you provide information, it could be used to steal your identity or to access your accounts.”
A senior citizen in Hastings reported receiving a phone call from someone who said that he was from Medicare and that “due to Obamacare,” new Medicare cards needed to be mailed. He told the woman she needed to verify the account she was having her Social Security check deposited into. The caller also asked for her age, address, phone number and the correct spelling of her name.
Thinking it was a legitimate call, she gave the information.
“Always be cautious when anyone is calling and asking for personal information of any kind,” Hegarty said.
He said that with the Tuesday launch of marketplaces to purchase individual insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, scammers have found a new pitch.
The BBB suggested visiting the official website at www.healthcare.gov to learn what you need to know about how — and if — the new health care law affects you.
The BBB also offered this advice to avoid falling victim to a scammer:
» Never give out personal information: your bank account numbers, date of birth, credit card number or Social Security number.
» Don't rely on caller ID. Some scammers are able to falsely display a company's name or phone number on the caller ID screen. Don't trust the information there.
» Most of the time, the government uses traditional postal mail. The government rarely calls, emails or texts, so view such contacts as suspect if the caller claims to represent the government.
» If you get such a call, it's best to simply hang up.
» For more information, contact the BBB at 402-391-7612, BBB's toll-free senior citizen line at 877-637-3334 or go to bbb.org.