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Scams Expected When Healthcare Market Opens

4:50 PM, Sep 27, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Better Business Bureau and South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs expect scammers will target consumers looking at new health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act.

"Scammers and fraudsters will follow the headlines," said Juliana Harris with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs.  "Especially with something that will effect so many people, definitely inclined to have scammers take advantage of that."

No healthcare market scams have been reported to the state's consumer department yet.  Still, Harris says if a scammer targets you, don't volunteer anything.

"We anticipate there being ploys like, 'we can get you a great deal right now,' or 'we can help you get signed up,' or 'your going to get in trouble if you don't sign up,'" Harris said.  "Those things can be used to coerce a consumer to volunteer information or even sending money."

Consumer experts advice being educated about the new healthcare options, but caution that you should be the one doing your own research.

"The number one thing you should remember is the government is not going to call you to sign you up," Harris said.  "So, if your getting this cold call from someone and they say 'hey I've got this great deal and I can sign you up right now,' that's a red flag."

Even worse, if a scammer specifically asks for a wire transfer over the phone.  Harris says don't send any money because that is an old scam method some will try to apply to the new healthcare market.

"So many people will be affected by it," Harris said.  "There's lots of uninsured folks out there and lots of folks that just want to know what's out there in the exchanges and in the marketplace.  So, it's definitely a hot bed for scams."

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