Beware of Affordable Health Care Act phone scams
The Better Business Bureau of Indiana is warning consumers of a circulating phone scam exploiting those of us who want to register for the Affordable Health Care Act.
The scammers pose as government workers, telling people they've been selected to receive ACA insurance cards. Then, they ask for verification on their bank account information or Social Security number.
As if registering for the Affordable Health Care hasn't been confusing enough.
"It's been very difficult to get on, to see anything on the site, getting a lot of error messages," said William Morris, referring to the ACA registration website, healthcare.gov.
Mark Burns agreed.
"It's just confusing," Burns said. "There's got to be a better way."
That confusion is the reason why it's easy for scammers to take advantage of people, fooling them into giving out their personal information.
"They'll say, 'One thing we need to know is that we want to finish the information we have. We have the routing number for your bank. Now, can you please give us your account number?'" explained Dreama Jensen, area director of the Better Business Bureau's northern Indiana office.
These phone scams are nothing new, but this one is especially dangerous because so many people aren't sure of the registration process.
"(Scammers) are going to get more attention at this time because we know so little about the Affordable Care Act," Jensen said.
The federal government communicates with consumers mostly by mail, not by phone or email.
The best thing to do when receiving one of these calls is to hang up. Don't start a conversation or press any buttons, because the more time you spend on the phone line, the more information the scammer can get about your location.
Jensen said she hasn't received any complaints about the scam in our area yet, but expect to start hearing about it by next week.
"I've heard over and over, 'That couldn't happen to me,'" Jensen said. "And then I hear over and over, 'That did happen to me.'"
If you do give your bank information out by mistake, contact your bank immediately. It may be able to block transactions.