OMAHA(KPTM)-It's been three weeks since Healthcare.gov was launched, and nearly half a million have started the sign up process, but technical glitches have been preventing many from completing the process. Now thieves are capitalizing on the uncertainty.
Richard Brown of the Charles Drew Community Health Center says there are nearly thirty thousand who live near the clinic who are now elgible for health insurance. "It's a monumental, historical program that's being introduce ed, which is leaving the playing field for those who don't have health insurance," said Brown, who added that hundreds have headed to his clinic over the past three weeks to sign up.
Unfortunately, confusion over the change to a new health care system has been an opportunity for thieves who use everything from phones to websites in search of personal information that many are ready to give in order to sign up for insurance.
Jim Hegarty, regional director of the Better Business Bureau, says scams have been popping up lately. While some are using the phone as a tool to phish for information, there are also imitator sites and pop ups that people should watch out for. "This is a dangerous area, and it is an opportunity for scammers to take advantage. Many of these scams originate off-shore and these individuals will stop at nothing to try to get information, " said Hegarty who stresses that the only site authorized to sign up participants for the Affordable Care Act is www. healthcare.gov .
For those signing up in person, Brown says there is a list of participating clinics on the government's website. He adds that the Navigators and Patient Care Coordinators must take a course and each has a certificate to prove they are authorized by the federal government.
Brown adds that getting help with the sign up process is free, and if anyone asks you to pay for that help, it's a red flag.
Finally, Brown says that it's unlikely that government officials will be calling to get your personal information since the government already has those details, so if in doubt, hang up.