MEDIA CONTACT:  Julie Willmot
 (609) 278-7137
                                  
TRENTON, N.J. — As the Affordable Care Act rolls out, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes and the County Division of Consumer Affairs are warning residents to be on alert for scams in which individuals claiming to represent the federal government through the Affordable Care Act trick people into giving them personal information.

The scam works by a caller informing the person that they’ve been selected to receive a new insurance card through the new Affordable Care Act. However, before he or she can mail you the card, the caller needs to collect some personal information such as bank account and Social Security numbers. In reality there is no card, and you could be defrauded out of money.

Hughes warns that scammers are opportunists who prey on victims who might not understand a new program such as the Affordable Care Act. “Hang up the phone on anyone who calls you about the Affordable Care Act,” Hughes urges. “Scammers will try to tell you that you need the card, especially Medicare recipients, but it is a ruse. Don’t fall victim.”

Added Hughes, “If you need information or assistance about the Affordable Care Act, you can phone a ‘Marketplace Assistor,’ which is a trained individual who can explain the new health care act to you at absolutely no cost. The assistor may need your personal information in order to help you, but you are the one initiating the call. You can call 1-800-318-2596 to find local help.”

There have been reports of this telephone scam, although the Mercer County Division of Consumer Affairs has not yet received any such cases.

“If you receive a suspicious phone call, please hang up and contact the Mercer County Division of Consumer Affairs immediately,” Hughes said.

The Mercer County Division of Consumer Affairs can be reached at 609-989-6671.