Fake Obamacare Websites Trying to Trick Users

HR Resource
December 5, 2013 — 2,665 views  
Become a Bronze Member for monthly eNewsletter, articles, and white papers.

There is growing nationwide concern among law enforcement officials regarding potential fraud associated with the Obamacare program. Authorities in California have recently shut down ten different fake Obamacare websites. These domains of these shutdown sites closely resembled the official marketplace website for Covered California (www.coveredca.com) that offered affordable health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Fake, Misleading Sites Shut Down

After a month long investigation, these sites were ordered to be closed down by California Attorney General Kamala Harris in an attempt to stop fraud connected with the program roll out. These fraudulent websites aimed to divert people away from plans that would be providing the Affordable Care Act benefits.

There were quite a few ways that these fake websites attracted and caught the attention of consumers. They had names that were capable of evoking the state’s official insurance exchange. Consumers that used popular web-search engines, such as Google, to find the official Covered California site, were also presented with advertisements of these fake sites. Such advertisements to these fake sites were very luring as they used the official insurance exchange logo and name.

Clicking on these advertisements using official names/logos, however, did not take consumers to the official site of the state’s insurance exchange. Instead of being able to buy policies that had received the new law’s approval and then maybe qualify for federal grants, these ads took consumers to private websites of insurance companies and brokers.

Extent of These Fraudulent Sites

It is not clear how widespread such fraudulent websites are and whether there are others that are misinforming citizens from other states as well. Harris’ spokesman, however, did confirm that there were regular conference calls between attorney generals from several states to discuss this subject. Websites such as “californiahealthbenefitexchange.com” were measured to be as fraudulent and were shut down. Consumers should be aware that any policies that were offered outside the official state site’s exchange could possibly not have consumer protections that were required by the Affordable Care Act, thus rendering them illegible for federal subsidy.

A Misleading Site to Trick Californians

In another fake-Obamacare-website revelation, it was found out that Republican members of California’s Assembly were distributing flyers that gave out information about the different coverage options that were available under the Affordable Care Act. These flyers which seemed harmless were actually misinforming voters and downplaying the benefits associated with the law. These flyers also directed the Californian public towards another domain that closely resembled the official site. This site (coveringhealthcareca.com) seemed to be an unbiased guide, but actually gave out information that closely resembled Republican points and criticisms against the law. It is quite clear that the site seems to be a Republican creation to undermine the law. 

HR Resource