TOPEKA, Kansas (WIBW) -- In the midst of health markets scheduled to open up the first of October and the Affordable Care Act going into effect, the Better Business Bureau is warning residents to be aware of scams.
The BBB says scammers may use health care reform as the perfect opportunity to take advantage of people and steal their identities and money.
Scammers may call claiming to be from Medicare or another health agency and say they need to verify information such as a bank account number or date of birth.
"Scammers are already making calls to consumers, masquerading as government representatives, in an effort to gather sensitive financial and personal information," BBB President & CEO Jim Hegarty said.
One senior citizen from Nebraska contacted the BBB saying she had experienced that type of call. She said someone claiming to be from Medicare and that because of health care reform, new Medicare cards needed to be mailed out. The woman was told she had to verify her bank account, address, phone number and the correct spelling of her last name. She was then transferred to a "Senior Medicare Representative" to verify the information further.
The BBB offers these tips to remember:
Never give out personal information - bank account numbers, phone numbers, date of birth, credit card numbers or Social Security numbers
Don't rely on caller ID - some scammers have the ability to display a legitimate-sounding company name on the caller ID.
The government rarely communicates via phone calls. Usually the government uses the postal mail service to communicate with consumers.
If you get one of these calls, just hang up. To familiarize yourself with true health care facts, visit www.healthcare.gov.
Consumers are urged to contact the BBB at 401-391-7612 and the toll-free Senior Line at 877-637-3334, or just visit www.bbb.org.