With Health Care Reform here, there are many reports of scammers using the confusion of the law to steal the identity or money from unsuspecting citizens. Here are a couple steps you can take to protect yourself against Obamacare Scams.
When searching the internet for rates:
The internet can make comparison shopping very easy. However it is also a place where many scammers lie in wait. Before submitting any information, make sure you know who is running the site and check to see if they are licensed insurance brokers or a creditable insurance agency. This can easily be checked at this web address: NC Department of Insurance License Search.
There are thousands of sites on the internet that are “lead aggregators.” These sites look like agency sites and promise to show you rates from a variety of companies. A tell-tale sign for these sites is how difficult it is to find who is running the site. Basically these sites promise to connect you with either a list of agents or 2-3 agents in your area. The “mice type” in their terms and agreements say that by completing the form you are agreeing to be contacted by their network of agents and trusted partners. What actually happens is your information is sold to call centers, up to 10 agents, and potential another company that will sell your information a second time. You phone will start to ring within seconds of submitting your information. It will continue to ring because these call centers use computerized calling systems that will automatically dial your number over and over again.
If someone calls you out of the blue:
If you have not previously scheduled an appointment with someone, don’t trust anyone who calls you asking for confidential information. If they say they are with the Federal government, beware. The Federal government will NOT be calling you directly regarding Obamacare. Private insurance companies and brokers will be marketing the Obamacare plans. They should identify themselves as licensed insurance brokers (NC Department of Insurance License Search). If you cannot find their information on here, they cannot assist you in enrolling with any insurance policy.
Beware of high pressure and scare tactics:
Don’t let anyone pressure you into any policy you don’t feel comfortable with or don’t understand. Ask if the coverage they are offering is Affordable Care Act compliant. Many companies are offering limited benefit plans that sound like they are major medical plans. Always ask if it is creditable coverage. Some people will try to use scare tactics regarding the deadlines and penalties of the new law. While there are deadlines and penalties with the new law, by understanding what these deadlines are you can better protect yourself against such scare tactics.
Do not wire money or send funds to anyone who is not a licensed insurance broker/agency or insurance company you plan to purchase coverage with. Once you have submitted an application with an insurance company, they will offer you several ways to pay for your premium. You will be given instructions by the insurance company on how to pay for you policy.
If you happen to be fooled by such scammers already, contact the three credit bureaus below and put a freeze on your credit (it’s free to do). Also contact your bank and credit card companies to let them know what has happened so they can be on the lookout for suspicious activity.
- Equifax, 1-800-685-1111
Fraud Hotline: 1-888-766-0008
- Experian, 1-888-397-3742
Fraud Hotline: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion, 1-800-916-8800
Fraud Hotline: 1-800-680-7289
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