Mason County Sheriff’s Office warns of “you have warrants” phone scam

The Mason County Sheriff’s Office is warning of a recent phone scam where someone impersonated a Deputy Sheriff from their office trying to get a social security number.

Detective Bill Adam with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office tells us a Mason County resident caught on before providing their personal information, and called the real police. That’s when a real cop called the fake one, posing as the victim’s spouse. A man answered as “the Mason County Sheriff’s Office,” but when told he was speaking with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, he brashly admitted that he uses the scam to get social security numbers and then hung up on officers.

It’s rarely a good idea to provide that type of personal information over the phone, especially when contacted and not sure of who you are talking to. Adam said even though real Deputies may in fact call people to tell them they have a warrant, a real Deputy will not ask for any individuals social security numbers over the telephone.

Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury stated that identity theft is one of the biggest and fastest growing crimes in the nation and that all citizens need to safeguard their personal information. The reporting person in this case is to be commended for not providing their personal information and for calling the Mason County Sheriff’s Office publicly listed number.

Washington state health exchange ready to launch

Washington residents have six months to buy health insurance through the new exchange during the first enrollment period, which ends in March.

They can sign up online at the Washington Healthplanfinder, on the telephone or in person at community centers, fire stations, libraries, churches and during special events.

The state hopes to enroll 130,000 people for health insurance in 2014 and another 280,000 in 2015, said Richard Onizuka, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

The state estimates about a million Washington state residents do not have health insurance, or about one in seven people. About 325,000 will be eligible to sign up for free insurance through Medicaid.

Others will get a discount on their insurance through a credit on their federal taxes. To find out if they qualify for a tax credit or may be eligible for Medicaid or another program for free insurance for kids, people will need to fill out forms online or access the exchange by telephone or in person.

The exchange will ask for some personal information, such as Social Security numbers, ages and income, but people who just want to check it out and not sign up yet can do so anonymously. The length of the sign-up process depends on how many people live in a household and how much comparison shopping is done.

Under the Affordable Care Act, people who don’t have insurance in 2014 will pay a fine when they file their federal income taxes in early 2015. The fines for people who ignore the new law are scheduled to increase over time.

“We want 6.5 million people to go to healthplanfinder to check it out,” Marchand said.

He said testing and training has been done to handle a lot of visitors with different needs, and the website has been stress tested to handle large numbers of visitors.

“We understand anything could be possible and we’ve taken the steps to make sure we’re ready for that,” Marchand said.

AP Correspondent Rachel La Corte contributed to this story from Olympia.

Online:

Washington Healthplanfinder: http://www.wahealthplanfinder.org

On the telephone:

1-855-923-4633 on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

BBB already sick of Affordable Care Act scams

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 15% of Washington State residents are uninsured, and these people may face fines for not acquiring coverage.

 

BBB reminds insurance shoppers:

Don’t trust caller IDs. Scammers possess the technology to spoof caller IDs, displaying any phone number or organization name they please.

Don’t press any buttons and don’t call back.  Some reports indicate that initial calls are automated and request that recipients dial numbers to enter account information or reach representatives; don’t do it.

Don’t give out personal information. Never give personal information to unsolicited callers; avoid sharing Social Security Numbers, birthdates or medical information.

 

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act or the Health Insurance Marketplace, visit healthcare.gov. To stay current on other local scams, make an appointment with BBB’s News Center at akorww.bbb.org/bbb-news.

Backup Device Stolen From Employee at Grays Harbor Pediatrics Contained Personal Information

ABERDEEN, Wash. – Grays Harbor Pediatrics discovered on November 23, 2010 that a computer backup device was stolen from a Grays Harbor Pediatric employee. The backup device was used for storing copies of paper records. Grays Harbor Pediatrics has notified all patients and patient billing guarantors.

An investigation of the data has revealed that information stored on the back up device may have included personal information ranging from Social Security numbers, insurance details, driver’s license information, medical history forms, immunization records, previous doctor records, and patients’ medical records which were scanned and maintained in a paper format. Banking information was not stored on this digital device and therefore not breached.

Grays Harbor Pediatrics has secured all current software applications by changing passwords, implementing new encryption software and updating security protocols to ensure that no patient information may be compromised. In addition to procedural changes, Grays Harbor Pediatrics has contracted with ID Experts® to provide an informational toll-free number and website to answer questions about this incident. Patients with questions regarding this incident can visit www.PediatricsSecure.com or call 1-877-810-7248.

This press release is in accordance with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. Grays Harbor Pediatrics has notified patients, billing guarantors and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).