CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urged West Virginians to be vigilant against schemes that attempt to use people’s confusion about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to steal their identity.
Morrisey said scammers are posing as officials from Medicare, other government agencies and insurance providers to trick citizens into providing personal information, including financial information. These scams often involve a phone call or unsolicited email, but they may also involve people going door-to-door in neighborhoods.
“These scammers are telling people that they need to provide private information * such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and other personal data * so that they can continue to have health care coverage,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “If someone calls you out of the blue seeking personal information or to offer you an Obamacare card, hang up. This is a scam.”
The Federal Trade Commission issued an alert earlier this year about a scam in which a person posing as a government official calls consumers under the guise of sending out new national medical cards. The caller then asks the consumer to confirm their name, address, phone number and bank account. The FTC said callers in one scam posed as Medicare employees who were requesting information to ensure the citizen maintained his or her eligibility because “change is on the horizon.” Other scams try to sell poor or nonexistent health care coverage to citizens.
“People who get questionable correspondences should never provide personal information over the Internet or phone,” Morrisey said. “If you get a call, ask for the caller’s name and number, and if you have access to caller ID, write down that number as well. Or simply hang up. With the October deadline for health-care exchanges nearing and so many people still confused about all that Obamacare entails, scammers are finding new ways to try to exploit others and drain their bank accounts or steal their identities. Because of that, we must always be on guard.”
If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft or a scam, contact the Attorney General’s Office’s Consumer Protection Division 304-558-8986 or, toll free, at 1-800-368-8808.