Jim Quiggle, spokesman for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, says he’s not surprised by the sudden influx of health insurance scams. “Crooks are exploiting the mass confusion over what the health reform means to the average consumer,” Quiggle says. “With each new aspect of reform, another opportunity for fraudulent marketing opens up.”

Quiggle says rip-off artists are going door to door and blast faxing with fake insurance policies and telling unsuspecting customers that they’re selling “ObamaCare.” And, to create a sense of urgency, the scammers are invoking the legislation’s individual mandate provision, telling potential scam victims that the law requires them to buy the insurance they’re selling and do it before a supposed enrollment period closes.

It’s just one of many criminal tactics being used, according to Marc Young, spokesman for Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland, co-chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Anti-Fraud Task Force, who says scam artists have been preying on unsuspecting Americans since the beginning of the current economic downturn.

“Now that the legislation has passed, marketers are going door to door, using the phone, and sending blast faxes,” Young says.

Some plans being offered are a complete fraud by criminals who cleverly mask themselves as insurance companies. “Unfortunately, the criminals provide all of the materials that legitimate companies provide,” Young says. “They’ll use the industry language to describe levels of coverage. They’ll issue authentic looking insurance cards.”

Some companies will even set up storefronts in communities, selling policies and sticking around just long enough to file bogus claims – only to completely vanish into thin air overnight. These companies are “very deceptive, very misleading, with very professional looking materials,” Young says.

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