The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Business

October 1, 2013

Authorities warn against scam artists

Uninsured, elderly likely targets of fake websites and 'robo' phone calls

(Continued)

The Better Business Bureau has already sent out alerts warning consumers to be wary of a scam involving health insurance exchange cards. Here’s how it works, according to the BBB: You receive a call from someone claiming to be from the federal government and the caller informs you that you’ve been picked as part of the initial group of Americans to receive insurance cards through the Affordable Care Act. Then the caller demands you give or verify personal information, such as a bank account or Social Security number, before they’ll send you the card.

“Those are big red flags,” Kuzma said. “Nobody with the federal government is going to be calling you, demanding that kind of information.”

What to do if you are contacted by somebody you think is a scammer? Don’t give them any information, Kuzma said. But do contact her office to file a complaint, by going to the website, www.in.gov/attorneygeneral or by calling 1 800 382-5516 or 1 (317) 232-6330.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

Beware of scams The Indiana Attorney General's Office is concerned about potential scams involving attempts for residents to file for Affordable Care Act. The office is advising people who can't go online to sign up for the exchange to seek help at one of the community-based organizations that have been certified by the state to assist people signing up for the exchange. In Anderson, the recommended agency is the Community Health Network, 1515 Madison Ave. Also Tuesday, Nancy Stone, Indiana Senior Medicare Patrol program director in Indianapolis, said current Medicare beneficiaries should not be getting calls about signing up for health care plans. "What we always tell them is to just hang up," Stone said. "Don't give out any personal information. Medicare will never call you. Because that's what they say -- sometimes they say they're from Medicare and they want to confirm their information." The Federal Trade Commission has issued warnings saying scammers claim to be from the government and insist on getting information so new national medical cards can be issued. Stone advised seniors not to fall for it, saying no one should be calling unsolicited about health-care changes. "The purpose is to get your financial identity, because, as you know, your Medicare number is your Social Security number. If they have that plus your bank account number, they can just go to town," she warned. Stone urged seniors who are targeted by scammers to get in touch with Senior Medicare Patrol to help with investigating the scam and get the information to the Federal Trade Commission. "We tell them to call their bank right away or go to the bank. And we also can call 1-800-Medicare with them -- or they can call on their own -- and they can report it to the FTC," she said. "The FTC really does want to know about this, as well." Hoosier seniors who have been targeted by a scam can call their Area Agency on Aging at 800-986-3505, and they will be directed to Senior Medicare Patrol. More information is available at www.consumer.ftc.gov.

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