Officials warn of Affordable Care Act scam calls
Hoosiers are flooding a federal switchboard and website with questions about Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges. But experts say scammers are working the phones too.
Felicia Jones says she's excited about getting signed up for coverage in the Affordable Healthcare exchange.
"I called yesterday. I called the 800 numbers and I got through, asking them all about it," she said.
"Am I going to look into the Obamacare?" asked Amanda Powell. "You have to look into the information to see what's going on."
Americans swamped the new federal website and phone lines, even on the second day of sign-up delays due to so many visitors.
But officials say no one should be contacting you.
"What we're concerned about is scammers who may take advantage of the situation and really cause a problem with our consumers," said Abby Kuzma with the Indiana Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.
The Better Business Bureau says it's already happening outside Indiana.
Tim Maniscalo with Better Business Bureau in Indianapolis says "they will call someone up and tell them they are part of an initial group that's going to get insurance cards from the government. But before they can send you those cards they will want to verify things like your Social Security number and your bank account."
Don't share that information, he says.
"If somebody says you've got to do this right now, we've got a special offer, there is no special offer," Kuzma said.
The period of time to register is open until March 2014
"Don't give them that information. Hang up the phone and make certain you don't press any other buttons or anything like that. Call the Better Business Bureau," Maniscalo said.
"Seems like anytime there's anything to do, any kind of new programs, there are always some people out there trying to scam somebody," says health insurance consumer Christina Staggs.
She and daughter Aliana will spread the news. Investigators say you should especially warn the elderly.
Shonda Shaw, who has private insurance, will spread the word, too.
"I definitely will let the people know at my job and people I come across," Shaw said.
Amanda Powell, who is looking for insurance, says "I would not give them my information without knowing exactly who they were."
So scammers can't sweep up her hard earned money.