Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Scamster Tricks

So I return from lunch to find a voicemail from a distraught young lady. Seems she had bought health insurance this morning (or so she believed) but didn't have sufficient funds in her checking account to cover the premium, and wanted to make sure that, once that was fixed, her coverage would begin tomorrow, as agreed.

What makes this interesting is that I had no idea what she was talking about. I am a relatively successful agent, but I don't have so many clients that I can't remember one from a few hours earlier (more's the pity, one supposes).

After some probing, it turned out that the young lady had spoken with - and given all her private health, checking account and other personal information to - an agent who shares my last name but is no relation. The more I asked, and the more she shared, the more alarm bells were going off in my head. For one thing, I explained to her, the company from which she purportedly bought her policy does not sell health insurance.

For another, no professional agent is going to take an application over the phone (too easy to claim fraud, and where, exactly, does one "sign" over the phone line?). Add to that the fact that the call-back number she'd been given appeared to be non-functional and, well, we have a problem.

Based on recent ObamaScam stories, I asked her if perhaps the gentleman had mentioned the "new health care law." She told me that the agent had called her husband, who'd directed him to call her.

So much of this screams "scam" that I gave her two pieces of advice: first, that she should call her bank to determine whether her account had, in fact, already been dinged, and that if it hadn't, she should freeze the account. I also gave her the consumer hotline number for the Florida Department of Insurance (she's a Sunshine State resident), and suggested that she share her entire story with them as soon as possible.

Fingers crossed hopefully for a happy ending to this one.
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