If You Get This Bill From Your Insurance Company, Contact Authorities, FBI Says
It could put your money and sensitive personal information into the wrong hands, experts say.
In the fall of each year, millions of U.S. residents sign up for health insurance plans, whether they're renewing their existing employer-based coverage or enrolling in a new plan through the healthcare marketplace. While the process of getting coverage for you and your loved ones is often complex enough as it is, this year, signing up in time may be the least of your worries.
A new scam is targeting people looking for health insurance and if you fall for it, your personal information could be delivered on a silver platter to scammers, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Read on to discover what to watch out for and how to protect yourself if you think you've been targeted.
Scammers are targeting people by posing as health insurance representatives.
According to the FBI, scammers are taking advantage of health care customers by offering supposedly free medical services, often posing as representatives for legitimate health care institutions or companies to do so.
The scammers will ask customers to provide their health insurance information in order to receive the "free" service. However, you won't receive the service promised—and the person who promised it to you may use your information to fraudulently submit claims to your insurance company.
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This con may also put you at risk for identity theft.
In addition to fraudulently billing your health insurance company for services that were never rendered to you, this con may enable scammers to impersonate you.
Not only can scammers find out other personal information about you once they have your health insurance information—potentially including details that could provide them access to services or other benefits from your health insurance company that you end up footing the bill for.
If you're contacted out of the blue by someone claiming to be from an insurance company, proceed with caution.
While you may need assistance enrolling or changing your healthcare plan, it's wise to be suspicious of anyone claiming to be a representative for a health insurance company, Medicare, or working as a customer service agent for marketplace plans who contacts you out of the blue.
"People representing Medicare or ACA plans don't contact you by phone, email, or in person unless you are already enrolled," explains the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If you are contacted by someone and aren't sure if they're a legitimate insurance representative, search for the customer service number for their company online and call it—not the number you may have received a call from—to verify that they're who they say they are.
If you get a bill for services you didn't receive, contact your insurance company—and authorities.
While refusing to provide your health insurance details to people who contact you unsolicited and reaching out to the customer service department for your healthcare company are good starts, checking your billing statement can also help you identify fraud.
If you've been contacted out of the blue by someone offering you a free healthcare service, promising to help you enroll in a new healthcare plan, or promising to help you switch to a new plan, it's important that you thoroughly scan your insurance statements to ensure that all charges are for services you actually received. If you get a bill for services that were never provided to you, you may have been the victim of a scam. To help protect others from the same fate, you can file a complaint with your state's insurance commissioner and your local attorney general and report that your identity has been stolen to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).