Bryan Cohen Oct. 1, 2013, 7:09pm

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Tuesday that his office has established an identify theft and fraud tip line for consumers to call if they run into problems when enrolling for health insurance.

Employees with Morrisey's Consumer Protection Division will field calls and answer questions from West Virginians about scams or challenges they encounter during or after enrolling for healthcare. West Virginia's Health Care Marketplace opened Tuesday.

"With the start of open enrollment, our office remains very concerned about the possibility of consumer's private information being misused or consumers becoming victimized by scammers," Morrisey said. "To help address these concerns, members of our staff will be standing by to help consumers and jump to action if disconcerting trends seem to emerge."

Compliance specialists and consumer advocates with Morrisey's office will also work with West Virginians in local communities to educate them about the Affordable Care Act and to protect their personal and financial information. The office also plans to distribute a brochure that points out ways to avoid scams.

"This tip line is not designed to take a pro or con view of the law, but rather help citizens if they encounter issues in enrolling, including people using high-pressure sales tactics or spreading false messages, such as the IRS sending bills," Morrisey said. "Our office stands ready to protect consumers, regardless of my personal opinions of the law."

West Virginians without health insurance must sign up between now and January to avoid the risk of being penalized by the IRS.

"Our office is committed to assisting consumers and businesses during the open enrollment period and into the future," Morrisey said. "We plan to do everything we can to make this time of change as seamless as possible for citizens and work daily to help them protect their financial information and identity."

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