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Obamacare scams are thriving

The National Consumers League says con artists are taking advantage of confusion about coming changes to U.S. health care laws.

By Mitch Lipka Aug 15, 2013 4:02PM

Image: Medical doctor (© Corbis/SuperStock) Uncertainty about changes in U.S. health care laws tied to Obamacare, as well as nearing deadlines, are fueling scams that are likely to get worse, the National Consumers League's Fraud.org warned today.

The idea that consumers have to buy health insurance, that potential government penalties are looming and that steps many don't understand are being taken by federal officials have opened the doors to all sorts of crooks.

Scams have been reported nationwide -- some 1,100 related complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission in May alone. Variations of the scams have surfaced in Massachusetts (which already has an established government-operated health insurance marketplace), Nevada, Arizona, as well as Kansas and Alabama, according to the group.

In Kansas and Alabama, the scams involved people pretending to be government workers who requested bank account numbers in the name of setting up health care plans. In Massachusetts, phony websites pretending to be part of the Obamacare (aka the Affordable Care Act) tried to collect information from seniors who were targeted.

In Nevada, a business was sent information pitching phony health insurance plans starting at under $30.

The warning notes that complaints about these scams indicate that they are coming from virtually every means of communication -- phone, fax, email and even face-to-face.


"A common version of the scam involve fraudsters claiming to be from the federal government and directing consumers to purchase insurance cards in order to be eligible for coverage under the ACA," according to the warning. "Scammers intimidate consumers to give them their bank account routing numbers or make a direct cash transfer by using words like 'it is the law' or “the government now requires it.'"

Fraud.org noted that one of the areas of confusion about the new law -- which ramps up next year -- is the penalties that are connected to failing to have health insurance. Some of the scams are tied to telling targets they could face jail time for failing to comply. While that's a powerful message, it isn't true. The penalties are financial.

Fraud.org also noted a scam that takes an entirely different tack -- trying to sell confused consumers on helping them apply for coverage under the new law. These folks claim to be "navigators," as was reported in Arizona. Rather than navigate you through the new law, though, they end up leading victims to give up personal information and pay money for phony insurance.

Here are some tips from Fraud.org to help avoid Obamacare scams:
  • Learn about the actual rules and how the changes will affect consumers from the government.
  • Government workers will not ask you to wire them money or give out your bank account number.
  • Beware of unsolicited calls that ask for you to update personal information because "it's the law."
  • Avoid being directed to insurance exchange sites and find them through official channels.
  • If you give out information and later realize you were scammed, tell your bank, credit card companies and the credit reporting bureaus to help protect against fraud.

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57Comments
Aug 15, 2013 4:41PM
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If its not good enough for congress or the president to be under, we shouldn't have to either! F*ck Obamacare!
Aug 15, 2013 4:50PM
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Confusion over a bill that nobody can understand is a breeding ground for fraud. Companies are having to hire experts to decipher the law and it is still in question. NOBODY really understands it, including the IRS and they are supposed to insure we all follow the rules, which aren't even completed. A 2,000+ page bill has spawned 25,000 pages of rules to date, and it is still growing day by day as bureaucrats continue to decipher what the bill actually means, although nobody actually knows since one section will conflict with another and so it goes.

 

Socialism. Isn't it grand.

 

Great Job you bunch of Washington numnuts.

Aug 15, 2013 4:53PM
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I am sure that once the government starts running health care all of the fraud and abuse will be diligently policed and prosecuted. Just like all of the other well-run government programs.

Aug 15, 2013 4:46PM
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Can't believe am the 1st person to make a comment. 

 

First of all HATE OBAMA, so if he hadn't pushed this damn bill with his damn name on it...we wouldn't be in this mess! 

 

Second of all, who gives out their bank account # & personal info over the phone?  Get real people....don't EVER do this under no circumstances, tell them to send you something in the mail, then do your research. Call a local insurance agency, they will be glad to help you out I am sure.

 

I hate to hear of people being scammed, but RULE #1-NEVER EVER EVER give personal information like credit cards, bank account # or social security # over the phone.

Aug 15, 2013 5:06PM
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Well for us "common folk" to understand this $hit, I guess we are the ones to have to read the bill "huh Nancy".  You pathetic *itch.   Vote yourself out of this crap and leave us swimming in it.  We should through you all out of office.
Aug 15, 2013 5:13PM
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Do you mean scams other than Obamcare itself??
Aug 15, 2013 5:05PM
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JUST LIKE WELFARE FOODSTAMPS OH I MEAN SNAP MEDICARE AND S.S. WERE ALL LEFT

WING PROGRAMS TO ENSLAVE PEOPLE TO THE GOVT NOT TO HELP THEM AND IT'S

BECOME THE DEMOCRATS ONLY THING THEY CONTINUE TO PUSH TO BUY VOTES AND

WITH OBAMA IN OFFICE IT'S SKYROCKETED AND THEY ARE PROUD OF THIS! GIVE ME

MY ****ING MONEY THAT I WORK FOR AND I'LL BUY MY OWN HEALTHCARE AND SAVE

MY OWN MONEY FOR MY RETIREMENT! WHO THE **** IS THE GOVT TO TAKE MY MONEY

AND TELL ME WHAT I HAVE TO DO WITH IT???? HOW THE F DID THESE THINGS EVER PASS?

AND  NOW WE KNOW OBAMA PELOSI ****ING LIED THERE ARE 'DEATH PANELS''''''!!!!!!!!!!!

IF THIS ISN'T STOPPED IN 2 YEARS ALL YOU OBAMANITES I WANT FREE HEALTHCARE WILL

BE SCREAMING LIKE THE CRY BABIES YOU FING ARE! THERE IS NO FREE HEALTHCARE!

Aug 15, 2013 5:34PM
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So the person who is paralyzed with $15 million in the bank from a lawsuit that requires 24-7 care now qualifies for "affordable" healthcare?  How is this going to drive costs down for the rest of us who are healthy? How is Obamacare not a scam?

Aug 15, 2013 5:46PM
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i guess that it never occured to some of you that the original intent was to make sure everyone that could not be insured would be insured.  Now what we all ended up is a clusterfvck of a law and some of you who managed to fail civics do not realize that the greedy **** senators and congressman added so many riders to the original bill so that it would pass and in actuality made the healthcare situation worst than what it was before.  So instead of JUST blaming Obama spread that hate around to your own represenatives who put their greedy little hands in the making/approving of it as well.

Aug 15, 2013 5:06PM
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Democrats are stupid scum.

 

Yah, I'm sure there's plenty of room to exploit confusion over this 3000 page monstrosity that the Idiot Party passed in 2010.

Aug 15, 2013 5:28PM
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oh now that's funny!! ARE YOU MSN AZZwipes high or something?? huh?? WHAT!!??? how can obamacare scams thrive when obamacare itself is the BIGGEST SCAM THERE IS!!! ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDIN' ME!! hehe scams are thriving off of a scam....ah liberalism the Grandest Scam of all!!

meanwhile :  Cisco Systems shares dropped one day after the network equipment maker announced it was cutting 4,000 jobs. ??????????????????? the phuckin' HELL you say?????!!!! oh and may I reiterate a very important point, seriously, this is serious now, I'm not kidding now.... YOU IDIOT GUILT-RIDDEN WHITE LIBERAL AND OR INDEPENDENT DCIKWADS WHO VOTED FOR THIS BLACK RACIST BITCH DESERVE EVERYTHING THAT'S COMING!!!! now, where was I, oh yes.....

but, butt, buuuuuuuut obama fixed everything!! he taxed the shyt outta the rich didn't he???? dem rich white folks is shoow nuff hurtin' ain't dey?? obama gave 'em da what fo' didn't he??? the economy is , hehe hehe I'm sorry, the economy is imp...hahahaha!! hahaha! heheh!! oh I'm sorry I just can't say it, much less write it...

but, ok I'm back.....'the economy is improving so Cisco Systems is firing 4,000 people.... ain't IMPROVement grand??  THAT'S FOUR-THOUSAND PEOPLE OUT OF WORK!!!!! 4,000!!!! ANYONE WANT TO BE A MORON AND TELL ME UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS ARE DROPPING NOW!!!

ah ahahahahahah!!hahahahah!! oh you liberal sleaze, you vermin, you Guilt-Ridden obamazombie black-azz kissers, how you feelin' ???? seriously your messiah is a clusterphuck of gargantuan proportions!! I mean do you libs secretly, when no one's listening or seeing you just say to yourselves, 'man I was sooooo wrong in my beliefs, I was....' but you can't bring yourselves to admit it in public, can you....the proof of socialist/liberalism FAILURE is ALL AROUND US! for 5yrs now liberalism is a proven EPIC FAILURE! unfortunately the public is gettin phucked but good, good by libs in 2014, what happened in '10 is nothing to what's gonna happen in '14!

Aug 15, 2013 6:33PM
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Obamacare itself is the biggest scam ever...and all you liberal douchebags fell for it.
Aug 15, 2013 6:11PM
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Watch this turn into a legal nightmare. It will be like Social Security and identity theft. Some federal judges have denied lawsuits and criminal charges of the "use" of a SSN, whether real or fake, because the defendant, the person using another person's id or a fake id, claims they "intended no harm" in using the SSN. So a federal number issued by the federal government has no protection for the person assigned that number against the illegal use and the federal courts and judges will NOT help to protect those affected by criminals because criminals and their lawyers know what to say and the excuses they know will work and get them off as innocent. This will be the same with Obamacare. The scams and scammers will come out of the woodwork from all over. It's starting out with the phishing for bank and credit info along with id information. Once the healthcare is implemented we will see the outright scams to use another person's healthcare plan in a fraudulent manner. Let's say a person uses another's SSN and there is payment into SS associated with that number along with the wages you know you earned, when it's time to figure your healthcare plan based on the income for the wages that you have records for will not match the records that SS will have and that will kick out as fraud and will trigger tax fines and penalties. Especially if you would normally qualify for a subsidy to receive health care. Who gets stuck with that bill? The law abiding citizen. Watch this unfold and more than likely the courts will NOT have a system in place to protect people that have had their healthcare compromised and no law or punishment for those that use scams to get something for free. The courts and judges will probably rule that it's not their problem and will protect the perpetrators rights leaving the victim to take the brunt of the financial burden and no recourse to reclaim anything they lost.  At least with company provided health insurance you know that no one will be trying to use a scam to scare you with enrollment into a federal plan. Politicians never think these things out. They always write laws like this with the belief that no one will be dishonest, abuse, or do anything criminal. If someone does then it's the victim's fault. If they wrote laws to cover every aspect of the things that could go wrong then these laws would be so huge that not one would ever be passed because of the complexity. They are too complex now as it is.
Aug 15, 2013 6:24PM
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Wonder if the country voted to not be taxed where you work?  You make $20 an hour you take home $20 an hour.  Wouldn't that be fun.  1099's for everyone. Come and get it you bunch of thieves. Trade is the future of the middle class.  The politicians NEVER take a law off the books,  So hospitals are ,under law not allowed to refuse anyone. This is  how you stop this.  They want to overwhelm the people with regulations .  We can EASILY overwhelm them in numbers.  Sure the illegal's will agree.
Aug 15, 2013 6:50PM
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THIS SHOWS HOW STUPID OBAMA IS - ALONG WITH ALL WHO VOTED FOR HIM!!!!

HOW CAN THERE EVER BE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE?????

DOCTORS AND LAWYERS ARE THE CEMENT WHICH HOLDS FAST THE HIGH COST OF MEDICINE TO THE

AMERICAN PEOPLE!!!

HOW MANY DOCTORS AND LAWYERS DO YOU SEE DRIVING AROUND IN A KIA??????????

HOW MANY PATIENTS DO YOU SEE DRIVING AROUND IN KIA'S??????????

IF YOU HAVE COMPREHENDED WHAT YOU HAVE JUST READ YOU WILL SEE THE TRUTH IN THE PROSPECT OF

AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE!!!!!!!!!!

OBAMA IS SELLING SNAKE OIL - -  UNION MADE SNAKE OIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aug 15, 2013 7:09PM
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Obamacare is the biggest scam going.
Aug 15, 2013 6:50PM
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