June 16, 2021
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
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.”
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
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:
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;
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;
to remove all negative information from your credit report.
Credit repair takes time and not every negative item can be removed; and
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.