Most of us know by now that scam artists covet our information to commit identity theft. They want to charge our credit cards, clean out our checking accounts, open new credit cards, write fraudulent checks, and take out loans in our names. Now they have a new cover story.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the ink was barely dry on the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act before scammers were picking up the phone and pretending to be from the government.
The Affordable Care Act deals with health insurance. According to the website www.HealthCare.gov, the law:
- has special provisions for those 65 or older (they say it strengthens Medicare)
- is intended to help you get the most value for money
- contains programs that may qualify you for coverage if you’ve been rejected for a condition or disability
- provides tax credits and new programs to small businesses
Whether you like the law or not, it is a real law and really deals with health insurance. What isn’t real is someone calling you and saying that BECAUSE of the law, they need to “verify your information.”
The FTC cautions that the con artists might have the routing number from your bank, and use that information to get you to reveal the entire account number. Or, they’ll ask for your credit card or Social Security number, Medicare ID, or other personal information.
Remember, you should never give out your personal or financial information in response to unsolicited phone calls, emails, or knocks on your door. And, the FTC says, “If someone who claims to be from the government calls and asks for your personal information, hang up. It’s a scam. The government and legitimate organizations you do business with already have the information they need and will not ask you for it.”
Been scammed? File a complaint at www.ftc.gov or call 1-877-FTC-HELP. You also can file a complaint with your state Attorney General. If you think you’ve fallen victim to identity theft, visit the FTC’s “Detect/Deter/Defend” site at www.ftc.gov/idtheft or call 1-877-ID-THEFT. You’ll find some great resources and advice there.