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Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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BBB warning of health care scam

Last Modified: Thursday, October 10, 2013 9:15 AM

By Lance Traweek / American Press

A local Better Business Bureau official is warning residents of a potential scam involving people who pose as federal government employees and try to sell health insurance over the phone in an attempt to collect personal information.

Open enrollment for health insurance enacted under the Affordable Care Act opened last Tuesday. Carmen Million, president of the local Better Business Bureau, said scammers are taking advantage of the uninsured who are unfamiliar with the law. Million said it’s a classic scam with a current-events twist.

“This scam has been happening for years, but these scammers find things that are of interest or important to consumers and that’s what they focus on,” she said. “In this case they’re using the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, to fish for information.”

The federal government will not contact consumers by phone and try to sell health insurance, Million said. The government will contact residents by mail, she said.

Scammers are mostly targeting senior citizens and asking for Social Security numbers, bank routing numbers and other financial information. She said the scammers will falsely promise to send something in the mail to confirm the organization is authentic.

“They will use scenarios that make you think it’s legitimate,” she said. “In (consumers’) confusion of the law, they think doing it over the phone will make it easier. If it is a valid organization, they will not ask you for your information because they will have already had it.”

For more information, call the BBB at 478-6253. The official website for open enrollment is www.healthcare.gov.

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