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Beware of scammers running 'Obamacare' schemes

Thursday - 10/17/2013, 8:48am  ET

WASHINGTON -- It was bound to happen: Scammers trying to capitalize on "Obamacare."

The Affordable Health Care Act is designed for people who do not have insurance. In order to join, you must apply for it. So if someone approaches you about buying into it, it's a scam.

"The government is not calling or sending emails or knocking on people's doors to get them to sign up," says Susan Grant, director of consumer protection at the Consumer Federation of America.

Grant says it's possible that someone at a legal services office or a community program will ask, "Do you know about this?" in reference to the government-run health insurance program. But they will not be selling anything.

The place to go to sign up is www.healthcare.gov, or you can call 1-800-318-2596 toll-free.

D.C. and Maryland run their own exchanges, which you can find links to at the federal website. Virginia uses the federal site. They will not solicit you.

Other advice:

  • Watch out for lookalike websites.
  • Beware of anyone asking for money to enroll you.
  • Only give your personal information once you are on the official website through a search you initiated.
  • There will never be any solicitation by the government online, on the phone or in-person to help you sign up.
  • If you have private insurance through your employer, insurance you previously purchased on your own, or if you are on Medicare or Medicaid, you do not need to enroll under the Affordable Care Act.

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