Con Artists Are Targeting Seniors with Health Care ScamsS

Forget working from home for $55/hour online — America's newest scam is health insurance.

According to a report in today's New York Times, con artists have been taking advantage of the confusion surrounding the new law — a problem that has only been compounded by the poorly-launched, glitchy HealthCare.gov website.

The most common fraud appears to be the simplest fraud, where con artists impersonate a government or insurance official to solicit Medicare and Social Security information. But officials also warn of telephone calls and fake websites.

State and federal officials say they've seen a "rising number of consumer complaints," linked to the Affordable Care Act that range from outright fraud to identity theft to deceptive sales practices.

But the most affected are seniors, who are being targeted for their Medicare and other personal information.

Volunteers for the Senior Medicare Patrol, a government program to help targeted seniors, told the Times that they have been "deluged with calls" from victims who were tricked into giving personal information, like 68-year-old Madeleine Mirzayans, who let a man she believed to be a government official into her home.

Over glasses of pomegranate juice, Mirzayans — "grateful that the government was taking such interest in her insurance coverage" — gave him all her Medicare, Social Security, and personal information.

A Senior Medicare Patrol project coordinator says that calls from seniors like Mirzayans have doubled in the recent months since the law went into effect.