County officials offer tips for avoiding scams during open enrollment

FREEHOLD, NJ – Open enrollment in the nation’s Affordable Care Act is going on now through March 31, 2014 and Monmouth County officials are warning residents to be wary of identification theft during this time.

“The Affordable Care Act may be a confusing issue for many of our residents,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the Division of Consumer Affairs. “There are unscrupulous people taking advantage of that confusion and trying to steal personal information.”

There have been reports that impostors have been contacting people by phone, mail and even at their door telling them they need to sign up for healthcare and pay a fee for it.

“Government agents will not solicit individuals to sign up for insurance,” said Consumer Affairs director Annmarie Howley. “If you are contacted by phone, mail or in person, you should see that as a red flag.

Howley reminds residents not to share any personal information, especially a social security number or bank information, to unsolicited requestors.

For information on guidelines for the purchasing health insurance, go to the Health Insurance Marketplace website at HealthCare.gov.

If you suspect fraud, call the Health Insurance Marketplace consumer call center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users can call 1-855-889-4325.

The County Division of Consumer Affairs is a law enforcement agency, created and funded by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders that protects against consumer fraud and dishonest and unscrupulous business practices by enforcing the state Consumer Fraud Act and other regulations.

Additional information about fraud and other consumer affairs programs can be found on the County website at www.visitmonmouth.com or by calling 732-431-7900.