Starting October 1, people will have new ways to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. As opening day approaches, the media will no doubt carry more stories about the Health Insurance Marketplace, how to enroll, and where to get legitimate help. Now that’s the kind of news you can use.
One other piece of news that’s useful: federal and state agencies are working together to encourage consumers to report scammers who use the Health Insurance Marketplace as bait.
With cold and flu season just around the corner, you might be considering ways to boost your immune system. Before you spend any money on a dietary supplement that claims it can prevent or treat the common cold, you might want to read up on two recent FTC cases.
What would you do if you thought your insurance benefits were on the line?
The FTC has charged AFD Medical Advisors in a telemarketing scheme that allegedly targeted older people and convinced them to pay $299 for a "YourRXCard" or "RXrelief' prescription benefit card that would supposedly give them big discounts on prescription drugs. According to the FTC, the company claimed it was affiliated with Medicare, Social Security, or legitimate insurance companies, and led people to believe they had to buy the cards to continue receiving their existing insurance benefits.
Earlier this week, more than 50 legal services practitioners joined together with staff from the FTC, USCIS, DOJ, the CFTC, the CFPB, and the SEC to talk about scams against the immigrant community – present and future.
The results of the half-day forum were illuminating for all of us. We found out about all sorts of creative scams targeting immigrants – more about that in a minute. But, just as important, we heard about the hard work and creative solutions that advocates are undertaking to help protect immigrant communities.
The latest in unwelcome, illegal, prerecorded sales calls are from scammers pitching a safety alert system for older adults.
The callers spoof a phone number so it looks like a local call on caller ID. If you pick up, you’ll hear a message saying you’re eligible for an alert system, or system upgrade, or that someone bought a system for you. The message asks you to “press one” on your phone to talk to a live operator, who will quickly ask for a bank account, credit card, or Medicare number, and maybe an address, to “expedite shipping and handling.”
We’re all consumers and information is the first line of defense in the marketplace. Everyone can benefit from amping up their consumer know-how and getting the inside skinny on avoiding scams. That’s true for servicemembers, veterans, and their families, too. And that’s the spirit behind Military Consumer Protection Day, July 17. The FTC, the Department of Defense, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Military Saves have teamed up for this first ever MCPD to kick off a year-round campaign to empower the military and veteran communities.
We’re no fans of creepy little blood-suckers like bed bugs and head lice. We’re also not keen on pest control marketers who say their products prevent or treat these infestations, but can’t back up their claims.
Crescent City or The Big Easy? “Nawlins” or just New Orleans? However you call this beautiful city, my colleagues and I will be there later this week at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Annual Conference handing out bilingual materials and chatting with people about being a smart and safe consumer.