COLUMBUS — Ohio Lieutenant Governor and Insurance Director Mary Taylor has issued a consumer alert after reports have surfaced that telephone con artists are using the confusion surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to attempt to steal Ohioans’ personal information. The scammers are claiming to be representatives of a health insurance exchange, Medicare or a “government program.”
“The Ohio Department of Insurance has been made aware of attempts to scam Ohioans by capitalizing on confusion around federal health care,” Taylor said. “No one from an official government program should be calling you requesting your personal information. If you are contacted by a suspicious caller, do not provide your personal information, including your Medicare, Social Security and bank account numbers.”
Specifically in Ohio, Scammers are:
- Claiming to be authorized to help people navigate the health insurance exchange created under the ACA and say they need to verify the person’s name, address and Social Security number.
- Tip: Health insurance exchange open enrollment does not begin until Oct. 1. The marketing of plans offering coverage through the exchange has not begun.
- Claiming to be a Medicare representative and that because of the ACA the person’s information needs verified in order to receive a new Medicare card.
- Tip: New Medicare cards are not being issued because of the federal health care law.
- Claiming they need the person’s Medicare number to provide them an updated medical emergency alert device. One of the brand names mentioned was Lifeline.
- Tip: Medicare does not cover medical alert devices.
Avoid Becoming a Victim:
- Medicare or government program representatives do not make house calls or solicit by telephone.
- Protect your personal information. Do not give out your Medicare, Social Security or bank account numbers.
Contact the Ohio Department of Insurance:
If you have been contacted by a suspicious caller seeking your personal information, call the Department’s fraud hotline at 1-800-686-1527 to share details of the interaction. You can also report it at www.insurance.ohio.gov. For insurance information, you can follow the Department on twitter @OHInsurance and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OhioDepartmentofInsurance.