The Montana State Department of Justice Office of Consumer Protection is warning Montanans about possible identity theft scams related to medical and health insurance services like the new Affordable Healthcare Act exchanges.

Spokesman John Barnes said on Thursday, October 3, that scammers will use the confusion surrounding the healthcare exchanges to elicit personal information.

"From our Office of Consumer Protection, we've put out some tips to help citizens avoid some of these things," Barnes said. "If someone is interested in finding out more about the exchanges, they should go directly to the government website at healthcare.gov."

Barnes said it is important to never share personal information, such as bank account or social security numbers, unless you are familiar with the other party, or you are working with a trusted website.

"If you're on Medicare, this is important," Barnes said. "You do not need a new Medicare card. You might have scammers telling you that because of the new healthcare laws you need to obtain a new card to get services you've already been receiving, and that's also a red flag. It's also important not to share your Medicare number with anyone who says you need a new Medicare card."

Barnes has details on whom to contact if anyone has been scammed.

"If you've been scammed, or someone has been trying to scam them, you can call the Montana Department of Justice Office of Consumer Protection at 1-800-481-6806."

John Barnes, Montana Department of Justice: