How to Avoid Identity Theft Scams Arising from Obamacare

Obamacare Identity Theft

If you’re preparing to sign up for Obamacare then chances are you are having doubts about how your private information is being handled on the website. There are several scams that have cropped up targeting the general public switching to the new mandatory healthcare plan. Today we’re talking about some of the new scams and how you can avoid falling victim to them.

Obamacare, AKA the Affordable Care Act, is a plan to get all Americans covered by a healthcare insurance plan of their choice by January 2014. Signing up requires you to access healthcare.gov in order to give vital information such as your name, social security number and location so that you get access to the plans available for you.

The website’s Terms and Conditions page has an assurance regarding the safety of information that you submit. However, there is a disclaimer that isn’t included in this page which states that

“You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.”

This effectively protects and absolves the government of any responsibility in case your information lands in the hands of bad guys such as identity thieves.

Let’s look at some of the ways in which you can have your identity and personal information compromised:

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are used by identity thieves who take advantage of misspellings and less than careful people wanting to access the healthcare.gov website to sign up for Obamacare. Let’s say you forgot the letter ‘l’ in healthcare. You’re probably still going to access a website; however, chances are that the site you’ll land on will be a scammer site that will look as legitimate as the original healthcare.gov site. Once you enter your information in this kind of site, it gets sent to identity thieves who will then use your information to access your credit cards, bank accounts and income reports.

Calls, Home Visits and Emails about a Healthcare Insurance Card

There are no insurance cards when it comes to Obamacare. However, most people don’t know this. Insurance cards were common under the previous Medicare plan. You might receive a call, email or a house visit from someone asking you to provide your social security number so you can get your insurance card. Please ignore or report such individuals and do not give them any personal information.

Scammers Posing as Advisers

There’s a general feeling of confusion when it comes to Obamacare; most people have no idea where they are going to get more information regarding the plan. As a result, there are lots of nonprofits stationed around malls and community lots to educate the public. However, not all of these groups are legit; some of them are posing as advisers simply because they want to manipulate you into giving them your bank account information, tax details or social security number for malicious purposes.

The general rule of thumb is to not speak to anyone regarding your choice of insurance package, and to be doubtful and suspicious of anyone who seems too eager to help you out when it comes to picking your Obamacare package.

Staying Safe While Signing Up

Here are a few tips that might help you avoid identity theft when signing up for Obamacare:

1. The main website has an “s’” at the end of the http prefix. This is something that you should ensure always exists for you safety. There’s also a padlock sign at the beginning of the address signaling that the website’s security has been verified by appropriate web security firms.

2. If someone threatens you with a fine if you refuse to give information or don’t sign up for a particular plan, run the other way. This is because these fines will be assessed and applied according to your tax returns next year; they’re not instant fines.

3. Keep an eye on your bank account, credit card spending and other information if you suspect that your identity has been stolen. This will help you identify any suspicious activity and take immediate action to stop these identity thieves from stealing or misusing your funds.

4. If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, call the relevant credit bureaus such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion and immediately let them know so they can take action.

5. You can also call the Federal Trade Commission hotline on 877-438-4338 to file a complaint as soon as possible if your identity has been stolen.

Stay safe out there Ghosts. New initiatives like this are rich breeding grounds for scammers.

 

Bypass NBA League Pass Blackouts with Ghost Path

NBA League Pass

Here at Ghost Path we love the NBA – and we love the convenience of NBA League Pass, but we don’t like regional blackouts.

NBA League Pass lets you watch up to 40 NBA games online each week, with the notable exception of nationally televised games. League Pass is a great product, just as its counterparts from the other major sports are. However, the notion of regional blackouts can limit how legitimate, paying customers are able to utilize the service. Blackout restrictions will keep you from being able to watch your local team’s games on League Pass… unless you’re using a VPN like Ghost Path.

VPN is short for virtual private network, which is what we do at Ghost Path. A VPN allows you to bypass various online restrictions, including geographic restrictions. By masking your true location it’s easy to bypass the basic geolocation techniques that League Pass uses.

We offer a 7-day money back guarantee here at Ghost Path, so it’s risk free to try out our service. VPN accounts start at just $10/month.

NBA and NBA League Pass are trademarks of the National Basketball Association.

 

How To Avoid Location-Based Restrictions With Ghost Path

Netflix

Large content providers such as Netflix, Hulu, and the BBC lock their content so that only viewers in their chosen territory can gain access. For example, Netflix streaming is only available to viewers in the United States. That means that a Netflix subscriber on vacation in Europe won’t be able to watch their favorites shows. Read on to learn how to get around geographic restrictions.

About Location Restrictions

Geolocation is the process of determining where an internet user is geographically located. Each device that you use to connect to the internet, even your smartphone, is assigned an internet protocol (IP) address. An IP address is usually tied to a certain ISP, and therefore a certain location. There are large global databases of IP addresses and the location that they are connected to. This makes it fairly easy for a provider such as Netflix to be able to determine where you’re located.

Using a VPN

When you use a VPN such as Ghost Path you are connected to the internet through our servers, and only relayed through your ISP. Ghost Path offers servers in dozens of countries, so you have many options for connecting. If you connect to a server in London then your traffic will appear to be originating from London. The same goes for any other server.

So, for Netflix, you can connect to any of the Ghost Path servers in the United States to gain access (you’ll still need your Netflix account).

Geolocation Defeated

This same process should work to defeat any geolocation attempts provided. Some devices, such as your iPhone, might have alternative location services, such as GPS, that also broadcast your location. You’ll want to turn those off as well.

How To Get Started

You can start getting around location restrictions today by creating your Ghost Path account. Then follow the instructions and enjoy!

Photo Credit: via Compfight cc

How To Choose A VPN Server

Choosing a VPN server

If you follow our blog then you already know all the reasons why you need a VPN. Whether you’re a business owner who has employees working on location, if you’re a student using free Wi-Fi, or if you’re simply shopping online for your husband’s birthday gift, a VPN will protect you from scammers, viruses and potential identity theft. Read more

Tunnelblick Configurations For Ghost Path VPN

Tunnelblick is one of the most popular VPN clients available for Mac. It’s free and powerful, but the setup is a little trickier than most clients. Tunnelblick makes it easy to control your OpenVPN connection to Ghost Path and it easily manages multiple server connections. We also have a dedicated page explaining how to Setup Tunnelblick with Ghost Path.

Read more

Inside the Mind of a Hacker

Many people think hackers are merely people who find a way to break into some company’s servers and steal their data. There are also hackers who simply want to get into your bank account and drain all the money you have. Or perhaps they find out your credit card information and go on a shopping spree. Often, though, hackers are after way more than just your money. Read more

12 Simple Tips for Online Safety

Internet Safety Tips

Here are 12 simple, quick tips for protecting yourself online. Many of these tips are very obvious, however, they are often the ones we forget about the most. Never underestimate the intelligence and perseverance of websites and hackers looking to steal your important information and documents. Often the smallest errors or negligence mistakes are the ones that harm your safety the most.

Follow these tips to ensure your identity stays yours and your private documents do not end up in the wrong hands.

Tips for searching and surfing safety:

  • Do business with only known and recommended companies. Do not trust unknown websites and pages.
  • Do not type in passwords or log in information on unknown websites.
  • Do not complete forms from unknown websites.
  • Completely close out windows with any bank information or important documents.
  • Do not leave up open pages in public.
  • Do not leave your computer unattended, even with a familiar face.
  • Do not change any passwords if a website encourages.

 Tips for email safety:

  • Do not open mail from unknown senders.
  • Do not respond to unknown pop-ups from any emails.
  • If you do not have a VPN, do not email sensitive and private information via email.
  • Delete any unknown mail from unknown senders.
  • Empty your spam folder frequently.

Your Turn

What simple tips and advice do you have? How do you stay safe online? Comments and conversation welcome!

5 Tips for Safe Online Shopping this Holiday Season

We aim to bring you the newest and most up-to-date information regarding online safety and protecting your personal information, so we wanted to share with you some tips Fox Business sent out last week regarding safe online shopping holiday season. Read more

Protect Yourself from Online Identity Theft

Public wifi identy theft

With Cyber Monday bringing in record sales for online companies, it was shocking to see just how many of those customers were using public wifi (a wireless connection without the protection of a password). Unbound Commerce reported that total revenue generated by retailers utilizing Unbound’s integrated mcommerce platform surged 410% on Cyber Monday. Suggesting that those numbers were purchases from smart phones, most people are blissfully unaware of the amount of hacking that is done through public wifi. We now live in a world where it is all too easy for hackers to track cookies of any given user to see email correspondence, Facebook passwords, and yes, bill pay logins, ultimately resulting to identity theft. Read more