Security experts are warning that scammers are exploiting the new health insurance exchanges to trick consumers with phishing schemes.
McAfee VP of Global Consumer Marketing Gary Davis told Fox Business, “I can say with a high degree of certainty that they will come. We live in a world where people look at compelling events and look to do something malicious. This is just the nature of the beast.”
With all the confusion surrounding the exchanges, it would be more surprising if scammers weren’t taking advantage.
Last week, Trend Micro blogged about the coming risk of scams related to the exchange sites. Threat Communications Manager Christopher Budd wrote:
One way people will be able to sign up for coverage after October 1 is online. But because of the way this online registration will work and the type of information people will have to enter to get health care coverage, there’s a real risk of a perfect storm that can make this process a bonanza for identity thieves and cybercriminals. This could be the most significant new area for phishing and identity theft in the next year in the United States. It also can give established healthcare scammers a new field to look for victims.
The root problem is that the Health Insurance Exchange isn’t made up of a single, authoritative site where people can go and register for coverage. In addition to the Federal site, people can apply for coverage at sites run by individual states. Then, within each state, there can also be legitimate third-party sites that provide assistance and even broker coverage.
At least HealthCare.gov (pictured) does let users easily find the appropriate links for exchanges for their particular states, which should help a great deal.
There have been actual scam sites spotted in the wild, however, and they have tended to use reasonable soujnding names for their domains, such as WashingtonHealthExchange.com or MDHealthExchange.com. These particular examples have already been reported and taken down, according to a recent Washington Post article.
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud (via The Post) says that most of the scammers have been targeting individuals rather than businesses, though with the legitimate exchanges catering to both, there is still significant risk to businesses as well.