Those Nasty Scam Artists

artist If you ask any of my friends from high school or college, they most likely will tell you that I was not considered a “ladies man.” Whether it was because the Nuns kept a close eye on me, or I worked a lot, or just had a face for radio I am not sure. In fact, for whatever the reason, I don’t think I had a girlfriend for longer than a month until I met my wife at age 24. And yes, she is still putting up with me after 22 years.
 
With that said, you can understand my surprise when a journalist from GalTime.com wanted to interview me. At first I thought it was something my daughter Phoebe signed me up for as a hoax, she is the prankster in our family. (My mother always tells me that she prayed for years I would get a kid just like me. “And you got her,” she says. Hmmm . . .) However, I quickly learned that GalTime.com is one of the fastest growing online magazines for women, published by veteran journalists. A reporter for GalTime.com was writing an article on scams that have begun since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and wanted some comments from me.
 
Wikipedia.com tells us that “the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare”, is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, it represents the most significant regulatory overhaul of the country’s healthcare system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.” Now I know Cutter Family Finance readers have all heard of Obamacare and probably do not want to hear any more, especially with what has been going on lately in Washington. But, don’t turn the page on me now because what I am about to tell you may help you from being the victim of a scam that could cost you and your family some money.
 
As you know, conartists take advantage of the innocent. They are smart, relentless, and crafty. They navigate through personal data, gaining bank account information and social security numbers, and they have found another opportunity to swindle the innocent, often targeting a demographic near and dear to me, senior citizens. So, for GalTime.com, I explained the following five new scams that people need to be aware of to help avoid any financial loss and heartache.
 
First, some scammers are cold calling people and offering “Advice for a Fee”. They disguise themselves as governmental “navigators” calling to help people enroll in a new health plan. Don’t believe them – government employees cannot charge people to help with this process!
 
Second, they are calling people and telling them that they need a special insurance card, which they say is necessary in order to see an “approved” doctor. These con artists are trying to charge people for these new cards and telling people that if they do not have one they will be fined. False again – there is no “new” insurance card.
 
Similarly, they are calling people on Medicare and telling them that in order to keep their coverage, Obamacare now requires a new Medicare card. If anyone asks you for your Medicare number, hang up your phone. Do not give it.
 
These scammers are even more brazen when they offer a discount medical plan that they claim costs much less than “real” insurance. They tell people that purchasing such a discount plan will prevent them from being penalized for not having insurance. But let me give you the facts – although medical discount plans may provide discounts on certain doctors and medical procedures, they are not considered health insurance plans under the rules of Obamacare. So, purchasing one will not keep you from facing a penalty on your federal income taxes if you have no other medical insurance.
 
These swindlers are also calling and offering fraudulent health insurance for under $50 per month. They use emotionally charged techniques to get folks to give their personal information and bank information. In my practice, I teach people to make financial decisions based on facts and logic rather than emotion, myths, and misconceptions. I explain to them that if something appears too good to be true, it usually is. Do not fall for this.
 
This is what I advise. If you do get a call from one of these scammers, hang up the phone. Never disclose your personal information to any unsolicited phone call. Governmental agencies usually do not use the telephone, rather, they use regular mail with a phone number for you to call them. Don’t rely on caller ID either. These folks know all the angles and often use technology to display phone numbers for fraudulent organizations on your caller ID.
 
Be vigilant and stay alert, because you deserve more!
 
Photo Courtesy of Microsoft Office

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