Tax season is here and opportunists are again determined as ever to victimize wage earners, steal their identities and much-anticipated tax refunds.
Your Social security number, name and date of birth – that’s all a scammer needs – as easy and as low risk as that. Once they have a Social Security number in hand, the scammers can file a phony tax return in the victim’s name, claim a large refund and have it sent to a false address.
Last year, the IRS caught more than 1.8 million fake tax returns and prevented more than $12 billion in fraudulent refunds. It is estimated that about $21 billion in fraudulent tax refunds over the next five years can even be issued to scammers.
Based on reports from consumers and federal agencies, the Better Business Bureau identified Obamacare as the most used scam method for 2013.
The complexity behind the newly approved Affordable Care Act brought a lot of confusion among Americans, which in turn, opened a lot of doors to scammers and fraudsters as a way to fool citizens into sharing their personal information, and stealing their money.
- Claim that they are connected with federal government
- Inform the target victim that he needs a new insurance card for the Obamacare
- Ask for personal information like bank account number, credit card number, social security, medicare ID
- Charge fees as high as $100 to help people understand the new policies
- Target older people, or those above 65 years old, by falsely claiming that they need to buy a supplemental coverage
tellows also received reports related to this matter.
Liz on the number 8554116569:
I don’t know how to place this number, but I just received a call from it and a pre-recorded message said that they were from America’s Next Generation and then they went on to talk about Obamacare. I don’t know exactly what their agenda is, but I didn’t wait to figure it out. After a minute or so I hung up because whatever they were trying to sell me (literally or metaphorically) I wasn’t going to buy!
Lois on the same number said:
Recently received a call from this number. It was a political call, although I’m not quite sure what kind of political movement or group they belong to. An automated message identified the caller as America’s Next Generarion (even though I never heard of the group nor am I aware of what I ever did to “deserve” these kind of calls). They just kept talking about Obama care.
BBB provided the following tips and advice on protecting yourself from con artists:
- Never pay upfront fees. If someone asks for money to help you shop for insurance, it’s a sure sign they’re not legitimate. Real navigators provide information about the ACA for free.
- Hang up the phone. Don’t press any buttons or return any voicemails, period.
- Never click any links provided in e-mails. Even if it appears to be a legitimate link from a trustworthy source, type in the URL yourself.
- Be suspicious of anyone claiming to represent the government. Government agencies typically communicate only by mail.
- Don’t provide personal information such as your Social Security or bank account numbers. If you do give out such information, immediately inform your banks and credit card providers.
- Don’t trust caller ID. Phone numbers and organization names can be faked.
- Go to www.healthcare.gov. It’s the official shopping place for qualified health plans.
- Report scams or suspicious activity. You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.
- If you think your identity’s been stolen, visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft or call 1-877-ID-THEFT.