S.C. Attorney General warns against 'Obamacare' scams


News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's been a busy couple of days for Terri Gant.

"Well, actually before [October 1], but definitely [on October 1] we had individuals from different zip codes showing up," she says.

They've arrived at her clinic and call her clinic's phone to enroll in Obamacare. Gant is a navigator, the ombudsman helping so many people make it through what can be a confusing process.

But with all that confusion, Gant says it's possible con-artists hungry for your information might surface.

"I tell people, first of all, to make sure that the person you're talking, to or that you think you're talking to, that you check them out. Do your research and make sure that person is truly from that organization or agency," Gant says.

She says navigators won't ask for checks or premium payments. They won't make or keep copies of Social Security cards or Birth Certificates. They don't need the consumer's bank account information. They also won't call a consumer unsolicited.

"Any document that I get from the consumer I'm going to give that document back to them," says Gant.

On Wednesday, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson addressed the Aiken Republican Club. He warned them that the exchange system could attract scammers by the dozens.

"It is a con-man's all-you-can-eat buffet," he tells News 12.

Wilson and others want reforms though. Although he agrees the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, he hopes the government will close certain loopholes.

"It creates a system where con-artists can slip in and perpetrate fraud and steal identities of the citizens," he says.

Wilson says, as for the Obamacare navigators, the law doesn't require background checks. He says the requirement of 20 hours of training for navigators isn't enough.

However, Wilson cedes that many if not most navigators are ready to help.

"It's like, you know, people say Congress is bad. Well, there are good members of Congress In fact, I'd say the majority of people are good in the Navigator program," he says.

However, Wilson points to the law of large numbers, and he feels that somewhere information will ultimately be compromised.

Back in Augusta, Gant can't speak for other navigators, but as for her office, she's confident consumers' information is safe.

Both Gant and Wilson are preaching personal due diligence. Both say consumers shouldn't rush, especially if they sense something isn't right, since end of open enrollment on the exchange is March 31st of 2014.


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