CHICAGO, March 3, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Scammers are taking advantage of consumers' uncertainty regarding health insurance by posing as robocallers from the Health Insurance Marketplace and threatening fines to obtain sensitive personal information. This is the latest twist on health insurance scams and AARP's Fraud Watch Network wants to provide consumers with the information they need to avoid becoming this scam's next victim.
"It's not unusual for scammers to use health insurance as a way to acquire consumers' information," said AARP Illinois Communications Manager Gerardo Cardenas. "They know people can be intimidated by all the ins and outs of health insurance. So they capitalize on it by making you think you've missed something important that needs to be reconciled immediately."
When receiving one of these false calls, consumers will be led to believe it's from the Health Insurance Marketplace saying they need to purchase insurance or pay a fine. If you follow the instructions and "press 1," an operator will ask for sensitive personal information, including your full name, date of birth, phone number, income information, and Social Security number. However, the Health Insurance Marketplace doesn't make robocalls and would not ask for personal information. If you receive one of these calls:
- If it's a recorded call, hang up. Unless you signed up to receive recorded calls, the call itself is illegal.
- Don't press 1 to speak to the operator. This puts at you risk for receiving more calls.
- If you do speak to an operator who asks for your personal information, hang up.
- Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
- Know that if you give them information, they will use it to make purchases and open credit cards in your name.
Other health insurance scams offer help navigating the new health care law for free or will insist you need a new Medicare card. To keep yourself and your information safe, visit the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov to learn about the latest health care scams and how to identify them.
In 2014, AARP launched the Fraud Watch Network to arm Americans with the tools and resources they need to spot and avoid scams and identity theft. But scammers are still out there, making every attempt possible to cheat consumers out of their hard-earned money. The public can sign up for free to receive Fraud Watch Network alerts and more at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.
SOURCE AARP Illinois