Butler Township- Joyce Mason knew something was suspicious when a man called her home recently to tell her she had to obtain a new Medicare card. She paused and heard multiple other voices in the background indicating the man was working in a call center rather than a government office.
"I was skeptical from the get go," Mason said.
Luckily she hung up before divulging any serious banking or personal information. Later, Mason confirmed with state and federal authorities that the call was a scam.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said the card scam and a host of other fraudulent pitches to consumers have come in an atmosphere of confusion over the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
"Obamacare is new, it is complicated and it is confusing and the con artists know that," DeWine said.
DeWine urged consumers to be on the lookout for scammers who tell people by phone, email and in person that they must renew their Medicare or Medicaid cards as a result of a change in federal law. Another scam even tries to convince people that they must purchase an "Obamacare Card," even though there is no such thing.
Beware of Unofficial Web Sites
While the federal government has tried to get its official web site, HealthCare.gov, to perform as promised, the internet has sprouted a number of unofficial sites that authorities said range from troublesome to potential scams.
One uses the phrase "Obamacare Washington" with a logo that resembles the symbol of the Obama presidential election campaign.
Kari Higgins, Social Services Coordinator at Greene Memorial Hospital and Soin Medical Center, said official web sites will refer to the new law by its formal name, the Affordable Care Act, not Obamacare. Another site featured a professional looking array of photos and links
to bona fide state web sites, yet the Ohio Governor's name is misspelled.
DeWine said people should avoid using anything other than HealthCare.gov to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. He said the government is not using call centers to inform consumers of their options.