The Better Business Bureau is advising Tri-Citians to beware of scams connected to the Oct. 1 implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Across the country, some consumers report that alleged scammers are contacting them by phone, fax, email and in person to try to gain access to bank account numbers and Social Security numbers. Some scammers even claim to be government employees.
Financial penalties associated with families and individuals who don't obtain insurance won't take effect until 2014, and there is no jail penalty, officials said.
No one can sell insurance through a health exchange until the Health Insurance Marketplace, also referred to as the Health Insurance Exchange, opens on Oct. 1.
If you think you have fallen victim to a scam or have questions about scams, call the BBB at 509-455-4200 or go to www.bbb.org.
Tips to avoid falling victim to a scam include:
w Never give out personal information including bank account numbers, date of birth, credit card number or Social Security number.
w Don't depend on caller ID, because some scammers can display a company's name or phone number.
w Visit the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service's HealthCare.gov.
w If you do give out personal information to a scammer, inform your banks, credit card providers and the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, so that they can look for potential identity thieves.