FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, April 2, 2013
Consumer Alert: Iowans Report Health Benefits Scam
(DES MOINES, Iowa) Attorney General Tom Miller today warned Iowans, particularly older Iowans, that criminals posing as federal employees are seeking personal information under the guise of the Affordable Care Act.
Several Iowans have complained to the Consumer Protection Division that callers who claim they are issuing new government medical cards have attempted to elicit personal and financial information. In some cases, the caller may already have basic information about the recipient of the call, including the person’s name and address.
“These are old scams with a new twist,” Miller said. “Criminals have long used tricks to target Medicare beneficiaries into giving them personal information. In this case, con artists are using the new Affordable Care Act as the ruse.” Miller added that the government doesn’t issue Affordable Care Act insurance cards and already has your personal information on file.
Criminals who claim to represent government agencies and target older victims generally seek personal information like Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and bank account information, including routing numbers.
Last month the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) noted reports of the scam across the country. In a March 7 consumer blog, the FTC noted “If you get a call asking for your information, hang up. It’s a scam. Government organizations and the legitimate groups you do business with have the information they need. They’ll never call to ask you for it.”
The FTC also noted that it can be helpful to provide investigators with caller-ID information. However, in many cases criminals "spoof" caller-ID numbers, meaning they mask the true origin of the call.
Miller urges Iowans to report suspected scams to the Consumer Protection Division or the Federal Trade Commission.
To file a complaint or get more information, contact the Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, Hoover Bldg., Des Moines, IA 50319. Call 515-281-5926, or outside Des Moines call toll-free at 1-888-777-4590. Our website is: www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov.