Bryan Cohen Jul. 16, 2013, 6:45pm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) -- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey warned consumers Tuesday about schemes attempting to use people's confusion over the implementation of the federal health care law to obtain personal information.

Scammers are posing as officials from Medicare, other government agencies and insurance providers in an effort to trick West Virginians into providing personal information, including financial information.

The scams may involve a phone call, unsolicited mail and individuals going door-to-door in neighborhoods, Morrisey said.

"These scammers are telling people that they need to provide private information -- such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and other personal data -- so that they can continue to have health care coverage," the attorney general said in a statement.

"If someone calls you out of the blue seeking personal information or to offer you an Obamacare card, hang up. This is a scam."

The Federal Trade Commission issued an alert earlier this year about a scam in which a person pretending to be a government official calls individuals about sending out new national medical cards.

The caller requests information from the consumer, including name, address, phone number and bank account number.

In another scam, callers posted as Medicare employees requesting information to make sure the individual maintained his or her eligibility.

Other scams may involve the sale of poor or nonexistent health care coverage, Morrisey said.

"People who get questionable correspondences should never provide personal information over the Internet or phone," the attorney general said. "If you get a call, ask for the caller's name and number, and if you have access to caller ID, write down that number as well. Or simply hang up.

"With the October deadline for health-care exchanges nearing and so many people still confused about all that Obamacare entails, scammers are finding new ways to try to exploit others and drain their bank accounts or steal their identities. Because of that, we must always be on guard."

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