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Con artists taking advantage of health care law confusion

By Meghan Packer, Reporter, MPacker@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 14 2013 04:05:40 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 14 2013 05:48:51 PM CST

The rocky roll-out of the health care law is causing some confusion..

The Better Business Bureau is warning of scams surrounding a couple different stories making headlines. One warning is about health care scams.

"The scam that we're hearing most about is a scam where people are calling consumers in the public, mostly older folks, people on disabilities, Medicare recipients, Medicaid recipients, saying in order to  get their card they have to provide certain information to the people who are calling," said Andrew Goode with the Better Business Bureau. "The scam is really just an opportunity for the scammers to separate people from their money or their identity."

Goode said this kind of scheme is nothing new and it's taking advantage of some people's confusion over changes stemming from the Affordable Care Act.

"We see it with credit card offers, we see it again with, when there's a change in a governmental program or a new governmental program, the scammers will be all over it," said Goode.

If you get a call about this topic and the caller asks for personal information including bank account, social security, and credit card numbers or your date of birth or something like your mother's maiden name, Goode said don’t share that information and hang up. He also said you can't trust your caller ID because scammers can manipulate what shows up on it.

"The truth is the federal government generally doesn't call people to verify information. They write people and they get information back in writing," said Goode. "You make the call, don't have somebody call you."

According to the BBB, schemers are also taking advantage of the situation surrounding the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines, which tends to happen after disasters.

"People are receiving calls from  purported loved ones, family members, friends, co-workers. The scammers are saying they're these people, 'we're trapped in Asia and we can't get out for whatever reason,'" explained Goode. "Can they send money, can they wire money to them because, 'we need to get back on our feet here.'"

"It's really horrible because here are millions of people who are in real desperate need, real need, and we have fraudsters who are perpetuating this type of claim," added Goode.

The BBB recommends not donating money without doing your homework.

Find more information about scams and how to look up a charity on the Better Business Bureau's website.