If the government calls, be wary, it most likely is not the government at all, but unscrupulous scammers seeking your personal information, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Education Specialist Jennifer Leach warned in a March 7 FTC scam alert.
According to Leach, a familiar telephone scam, in which the caller claims to be a government official seeking personal information in order to process government benefits, is using the enactment of the Affordable Care Act to collect names, addresses and bank account numbers from unsuspecting victims.
“This kind of scam pops up anytime there’s a big change in a government policy, or when a topic is in the news," says Leach. "Scammers use people’s uncertainty to try to get them to reveal personal information.”
In this version of the scam, a caller claims the government is preparing to issue national medical cards under the Affordable Care Act and asks its potential identity theft victims for verification of their personal information. Leach points out that government organizations already have any information they need.
If you receive a call asking for identifying information, it is a scam and you should hang up. If you have caller ID, take note of the number and location of the caller, and contact the FTC. You may report scammers online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP. This is a toll-free number.