Scam Alert: Obamacare Helpers Might be Identity Thieves
Exchanges are not even open and yet scammers are already posing as the Obamacare helpers known as “Navigators” and “Assisters”. Officially the 50 insurance exchanges will open for operation October 1, but according to a report released September 18th by the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, there is significant risk for fraud and abuse due to poor oversight. The report reveals these alarming findings:
“. . .numerous reports of scam artists posing as Navigators and Assisters to take advantage of people’s confusion about ObamaCare. According to recent news reports, scam artists are calling individuals and asking for information to sign them up for their “ObamaCare card,” asking seniors for their personal information to verify their Medicare and Social Security status and are going door-to-door threatening people with prison time if they do not sign up on the spot. The Administration is keenly aware of these reports and concerns, but has thus far failed to take appropriate measures.”
Republicans are reported to be concerned about the seeming lack of due diligence since the navigators are not required to have government ID or authorization documentation to facilitate the enrollment. HHS is not requiring navigators to undergo “minimum eligibility criteria and background checks.” Massive Identity theft is looming if the scam artists posing as Obamacare navigators get access to personal information such as Social Security numbers and bank accounts.
The poor management appears to stem from inappropriate incentives and training. Navigators are to be paid based on the number of people they enroll in Obamacare. Heritage.org reports that last week, “an employee of Minnesota’s insurance exchange (MNsure) emailed out the names and Social Security numbers of 2,400 insurance agents. The insurance broker who received the email said, ‘If this is happening now, how can clients of MNsure be confident their data is safe?'”
The White House administration announced plans to set up a toll-free telephone number for consumers to report fraud. Officials also plan to launch an education campaign to warn consumers about the scams and what to look for.