Affordable Care Act: Potential scams put Internet security experts on edge; how to avoid scammers

(NBC News) - The rollout this week of a big chunk of the Affordable Care Act has Internet security experts on edge.

They're expecting criminals to also have a rollout of their own new scams.
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Those health insurance exchanges we've heard so much about will start up and be online Tuesday and, unfortunately, so will the crooks who are always fishing to get your credit card or bank account numbers.

MORE: What is the Affordable Care Act? (http://bit.ly/1dRO35q)

"This might be the opportunity of the decade for the phishers," said Internet security expert Bob Sullivan.

They're expected to dress up emails to look legitimate and entice you to click on links that lead only to no-good.

"So if you get an email that says ‘Do this or you're gonna lose your benefits,' there's a pretty decent chance you're gonna click on that and look into it," said Wade Baker of Verizon's risk team.

Internet security experts say the crooks plan to cash in on the confusion of the Affordable Healthcare Act also known as "Obamacare."

"I don't know how the legitimate exchanges will be able to distinguish themselves and their emails from the phishing emails," Sullivan said.

So, they say if ever there's a time to be vigilant, it's now.

"We need to be suspicious of it. If it's unsolicited or comes from someone you don't know, that should be an automatic flag. If it's poorly written, that's another flag," said Baker.

Sullivan suggested that every time you go to one of these websites, go up to that address bar and type it manually and re-login that way.

"Don't use any links sent out by anybody," Sullivan said.

They also say don't be in a hurry.

People who are eligible to buy health insurance through the exchanges have until next April to sign up.
The insurance marketplaces are only for people who don't already have health insurance, meaning most people don't have to do anything.

The government is not calling, sending emails or knocking on people's doors to sign them up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

For more information, visit www.healthcare.gov.

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