Attorney General Ford Warns Nevadans About
Deceiving Discount Insurance Plans, Credit Repair Scams
Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford, in partnership with the Nevada Division of Insurance, encouraged Nevadans to stay vigilant as scammers attempt to take advantage of struggling individuals and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of the latest pandemic scams include the deceptive discount insurance plans and credit repair scams.
Deceptive Discount Insurance Plans:
With the American Rescue Plan Act, Nevadans have through August 15th, 2021 to enroll in or change their health plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace known as Nevada Health Link, because of the COVID-19 emergency. Nevadans shopping for a new plan should be aware that deceptive telemarketers and websites have been advertising discount medical and short-term plans falsely claiming that they are Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant.
Entities are reaching out to consumers via robocalls, telemarketing, or through misleading websites that appear legitimate and may have similar names to legitimate insurance companies.
“When shopping for insurance, stick to the Nevada Health Link website as your first stop,” said Attorney General Aaron D. Ford. “These fake websites are intentionally confusing, leaving consumers who fall for them with unpaid medical bills.” “Limited health benefit plans serve a purpose but are not meant for long term use and have gaps in coverage because they are not designed to be comprehensive health insurance, whereas ACA compliant plans are,” explained Insurance Commissioner Barbara Richardson. “Be vigilant, understand the policy you are buying, and reach out to
the Division if you have questions.”
If you receive an unsolicited call from a health insurance company, do not provide any personal information over the phone. Consumers are encouraged to research the difference between limited benefit plans, ACA compliant plans and other types of plans by visiting http://insurance101.nv.gov/. The website also lists all of the companies in Nevada that are licensed to sell plans and tips on shopping for insurance.
To verify that an individual, agency, or company is licensed with the Division of Insurance, visit the Division’s website. The State of Nevada Division of Insurance regulates Nevada’s insurance industry.
Credit Repair Companies
As Nevadans start to emerge after a difficult year, many consumers may be looking for a fresh start on their credit. Credit repair companies offer the chance to get your credit back on track, but Nevadans should be aware that some of these companies may not be entirely legitimate. “If you are unhappy with your credit, you can take steps to repair it on your own,” said Attorney General Aaron D. Ford. “If you would prefer to pay someone to set up a
repayment plan for you, be on the lookout for misleading companies that may be trying to get your personal information.”
If you want to hire a credit repair company, the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection offers the following tips for spotting a scam. Be alert if a company:
• Asks you to pay all fees up front before it does any work on your behalf. Some companies may charge a one-time fee ranging from $15-$200 to set up the account. However, no credit repair organization may charge a consumer any money before the service is fully performed;
• Instructs you to dispute information on your credit report that you know is accurate. With your legal consent, the company may challenge and clean up any inaccurate items with the three major credit bureaus or directly with the creditors. If a company tells you to say you have been the victim of identity theft when you have not, this is illegal;
• Promises to remove all negative information from your credit report. Credit repair takes time and not every negative item can be removed; and
• Doesn’t explain your legal rights when they tell you about their services. Legitimate credit repair companies should include a copy of the Consumer Credit File Rights. Additionally, you have the right to cancel any services without incurring any penalties within three business days.
Under the CARES Act, you can obtain an extension and a forbearance on some types of loans for up to 180 days. These protections are valid until June 30, 2021. Homeowners with federally backed loans may be able to apply for mortgage forbearance. Federal student loans are eligible for suspensions of payments and defaults, and interest rates are set to zero, until September 30, 2021.
If you have been victimized by any crime related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please file a complaint about your experience to the Attorney General’s Office and the National Center for Disaster (NCDF) hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or by e-mailing the NCFD at [email protected]