Opening of healthcare exchanges presents opportunity for scams

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Online health insurance marketplaces opened Tuesday, October 1st, and folks began shopping for health insurance, via the Affordable Care Act. Because the Affordable Care Act is so new, it is open season for con-artists!

Ran Hoth with the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau says because the Affordable Care Act is so new, it is creating an opportunity for con-artists.

Hoth says it begins with a phone call from a person claiming to be with the federal government, saying:

"You've been selected as the initial group of Americans to receive insurance cards under the Affordable (Care Act)," Hoth said.

The caller will ask for personal information, such as banking and social security numbers -- and in return, an insurance card will be sent.

"It's a total scam. Just hang up. Don't give any information. At this point, there are no healthcare cards being issued. The insurance exchanges haven't been set up yet," Hoth said.

The Affordable Care Act doesn't officially begin until January 1st of 2014 -- when health insurance will kick in for Americans signing up via the insurance exchanges.

The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly already received hundreds of complaints regarding scams related to the Affordable Care Act.

Hoth says the Wisconsin BBB hasn't heard of any fraudulent websites asking people to sign up for government healthcare.

Nonetheless, Hoth stresses that the only legitimate website to sign up for insurance is through the government.