BBB warning of health care scam

By 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.