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Affordable Care Act: Beware of scammers

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When Joanne Mathis got a call last week from a man trying to sell her a medical device over the phone, the AARP volunteer sensed a scam.

"So, by the time he got to the point where he was asking for a credit card number, I told him no thank you-- I wasn't interested," said Mathis.

Now that the insurance exchange, www.healthcare.gov, is up and running and thousands of Georgians are trying to find coverage, journalist Andy Miller of GeorgiaHealthNews.com says the con men are going to come out of the woodwork.  

"There will be fraud around this program," said Miller.  "Every time there is a new healthcare program, like Medicare Part D, like I mentioned before, there are fraud schemes around it."

Seniors are often the target.  The Federal Trade Commission is already getting reports of scams, like callers offering people help finding insurance for a fee, or offering medical discount plans.  

"If someone calls you, cold-calls on the phone and says, ‘Hey, I've got a plan for you under Obamacare,' that's likely a con artist."

Scammers are also asking seniors for their financial information, claiming they need to sign up for a new Medicare card under Obamacare.  There's no such thing.  The government will not call you or ask you for personal information.  And if you're on Medicare, you're already covered and you don't need to buy anything.

So, feel free to hang up the phone.

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