Open season for identity thieves

It’s open season for everyone who wants to switch health coverage. As you select your health insurance plan, watch out for scams. Whether you are on Medicare, selecting a plan through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or have private insurance, here are some tips to help you more safely navigate the open enrollment season. 

Medicare

A variety of scams take advantage of Medicare recipients. Here are a few: 

  • An “official Medicare agent” knocks on your door selling Medicare insurance that can save you money. Stop. It’s a scam. There are no Medicare sales representatives. It’s probably someone who wants to use your information to commit fraud or identity theft.
  • Someone calls and says you must join their prescription plan or else you’ll lose your Medicare coverage. Don’t believe it. The Medicare prescription drug plan (also known as Part D) is voluntary.  
  • Someone calls claiming that you need to give your Medicare number in order for you to keep your Medicare coverage under ACA. It’s a scam. Don’t give your personal information over the phone. If you need help with Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE or go to medicare.gov.

Affordable Care Act

If you are shopping in the Health Insurance Marketplace, only shop at HealthCare.gov. People who try to sign you up elsewhere may be scammers. If you’re overwhelmed, you can find free official helpers at HealthCare.gov. Official helpers will never ask for money or try to sell you a particular plan. 

Another important tip: the government will not call to sell you health insurance. And no one from the government will ask you to verify your Social Security number or bank information over the phone.

Private insurance

If you’re looking for health insurance, make sure that’s what you’re buying. Be on the lookout for medical discount plans. They’re not the same as health insurance, even though they sometimes pretend to be. Many of these plans are scams that don’t deliver on the services promised. Others are just a way for identity thieves to get your personal information. Your state insurance commissioner’s office can tell you if a plan isn’t insurance and whether the seller is licensed in your state.

Report health care scams

If you think you may be a victim of a health care scam, report it to the FTC. If the scam is Medicare-related, report it at medicare.gov.

If you gave out personal information, then call your banks, credit card providers, health insurance company, and credit reporting agencies immediately. The FTC’s website has more information on health care scams and medical identity theft.

Comments

Hi I just want to thank you fore this opportunity.

Fantastic information - thanks! I will pass this on to the office at the senior's building where my mother lives. They frequently get calls from people trying to get their information.

Please add a choice for a "printable" version of your updates.

Thanks!

since i've been scammed twice by the microsoft scammers, i read all your bulletins and appreciate the alerts.

good tips, but let me add one more: hospitals can claim all kinds of services were needed and given! check those bills closely. I was treated 8 months in a locked facility to keep me from collecting on an outstate lottery win!! being "jammed" and can't do captcha

If I were in your situation and could not get out of there in time to validate your winning ticket, then I am sure most news departments including CNN would be quite happy to make a scene out of that. It also would probably spark the interest of a good lawyer who would be happy to try to prove that case on a cash if you win basis.Don't give up, good luck.

Senior Citizens , especially are being scammed every day !
The only meaningful and worthwhile program out-there to truly aid and assist is the F.T.C. - keep up the good work!

Thank you for the helpful information. "Knowing is half the battle."

thanks for helping some us who get confused and I am not that old

I am hoping the new job I am taking is not a scam.
They keep asking for more and more personal, financial, and credentialing information. I am nervous.

I recently worked for an insurance agency named Ensurity Group LLC doing sales telemarketing its ran by a man named Moe Flores and his girlfriend named Maria Martinez and would call people you know senior citizens and I had to convince them to set an appointment with these "so called representatives by letting them go to there home and they would sell them a supplement you know part c. I just thought this was needed to be known just incase your the next one on there calling list and also because i didn't know that was FRAUD.

Hi I just realized I am being scammed thru an eBay scam where the car deal is with green dot money packs they want you to use the money packs to send the money for the vehicle and claim it's legit I really wanna nail these guys how can I report this

You can file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

The Fifth Third bank is extremely lax about protecting my confidential info:

Recently i got a routing Fifth Third regular-mail letter that includes all the answers to my security questions. No purpose was served by including this info in the letter.

What if the letter got lost in the mail? What if someone else opened it?

THIS IS INTOLERABLE!!!

"no one from the government will request your SS# over the phone" - this is not true. In NJ my unemployment insurance has been cancelled and I have been asked to give my SS# numerous times to collect benefits. This continues still

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