While you are working to understand the Affordable Healthcare Act, also known as Obamacare, and its implications for your family, scammers and con artists are also working hard. They are working hard to gather your personal information and use it for their benefit. Obamacare scams have occurred over the phone, through emails and fake websites, perpetrated by con artists posing as government employees and Obamacare “navigators.” How can you be on guard while you also navigate what Obamacare means for you and your family?
The most important aspect to prevent fraud that’s related to Obamacare scams is to understand the law. Once you do, the less scam artists can feed off of your fear or lack of understanding. For example, current scams using fear include: “Sign up now. There are only 20 spots remaining” or “if you don’t buy it, you could go to jail.” Neither are accurate of the law. The number of spots in Obamacare is not limited and the penalty for not having healthcare (which isn’t applicable until 2014) is only $95 for the first year.
Estimates suggests that over 700 fake or misleading Obamacare websites exist on the Internet. However, the only legitimate website to find state and federal exchanges is www.HealthCare.gov . Even if the other fake websites don’t steal your personal information, they could corrupt your computer with malware.
Don’t give your personal information to random callers; this includes account information, social security numbers or even agreeing to wire money or buy prepaid cards. Any cold calls or emails should be considered fraudulent and reported to authorities. Additionally, any counselors or navigators who are working with Obamacare won’t charge a fee for their help. If someone offers to help you, even for a small fee, assume it is a scam. Just as an official website exists, the official number for questions about Obamacare is 1-800-318-2596.
If you are on the receiving end of suspected fraud or scams related to Obamacare, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). If a business is involved, contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) as well. And if you have given out personal information and later realize it is a fraud related scam, contact your credit union and the three major credit bureaus so you can watch for future suspicious activity on your account.
About Unity One Credit Union
Established in 1927, Unity One Credit Union is the oldest credit union in Texas. A member-driven and not-for-profit cooperative, Unity One CU served the employees and families of the BNSF Railway for 70 years. However, after transferring its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth in 1998, the credit union expanded its field of membership to include other non-railroad companies, organizations and individuals.
Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Fort Worth, Blue Mound, Saginaw, Haslet, Keller, Colleyville, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Southlake, St. Paul, MN and Kansas City, KS may apply for membership. Unity One CU has nine branches to serve over 28,000 members nationwide. For more information about Unity One Credit Union, visit www.unityone.org. Think outside the bank.™