Montana Department of Justice
Home / Press Release / As Insurance Exchange Launches, State’s Consumer Protection Office Offers Tips to Avoid Scams
October 7, 2013

As Insurance Exchange Launches, State’s Consumer Protection Office Offers Tips to Avoid Scams

With the launch of Montana’s health insurance exchange this week, the Office of Consumer Protection at the state Department of Justice is offering tips to help Montanans avoid identity theft scams related to medical services and health insurance products.


“Montanans need to be aware that scammers may take advantage of the insurance exchange launch and attempt to trick people into revealing confidential information or into signing up for bogus products and services,” said Office of Consumer Protection Director Matt Dale. “When a large program launches or when a natural disaster strikes that increases charitable activities, we tend to see a rise in scam complaints.”

“Scammers need to know we take these problems very seriously in Montana,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “One of my priorities during the 2013 Legislative Session was a bill to strengthen Montana’s consumer protection laws by increasing penalties for people or organizations that scam the elderly and mentally disabled. The evidence across the country is clear that scammers tend to target these groups particularly. While this new law took effect on Tuesday, awareness and attentiveness are still our best tools for combating scams.”

The Office of Consumer Protection offers the following tips for avoiding scams:

• Educate yourself. Go to www.healthcare.gov. You can learn more about protecting yourself from scams here.
• Be cautious of sharing personal information such as your social security number or any bank account numbers.
• Do not give your Social Security number, or any bank account or credit card information, to any company that you did not contact. Do not offer this information to companies you heard about through unsolicited advertisements.
• Do not give out personal health history or share current health conditions or treatments you are or ever have received. No one should ask you for this.
• You do not have to pay application or “sign-up” fees. The new health care exchange has trained assisters that will help you for free.
• If you are on Medicare, you do not need a new card. If you are told you do, it could be a scam. Do not share your Medicare number with anyone who contacts you telling you that you need a new Medicare card.
• If information is not being clearly explained to you, ask questions until you get a clear answer. Do not sign up for something you do not understand.
• Do not respond to callers, emails, text messages, or advertisements that ask for your personal or financial information. If you get a message and are concerned about your account status, call the number on the back your credit or debit card.
• Never send or wire money to someone you do not know. It is best to do business with companies or websites that you know and trust. When buying items try to use payment options that offer protection such as credit cards. Avoid cash and wire transfer services.

To report a scam or to file a complaint with the Office of Consumer Protection, call 1-800-481-6896 or email contactocp@mt.gov. You can also file a consumer complaint online.

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Attorney General's Office & Legal Services Division

The Attorney General’s Office, headed by Attorney General Tim Fox, and the Legal Services Division function as the lawyers for the State of Montana. The attorneys in the Office have expertise in a wide range of legal topics and handle a broad range of legal cases involving the State of Montana and its people.

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Children’s Justice Bureau

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Missing Persons Clearinghouse

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Montana is rich in natural beauty and history. From Glacier Park in the west to Makoshika Park in the east, the men and women of the Montana Highway Patrol are working hard to make your travels safe and enjoyable. The Highway Patrol’s core values are “Service, Integrity and Respect.” These values are reflected in our commitment to public safety through diligent and fair enforcement of our traffic codes.

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Public Safety Officer Standards & Training

The Council was formed in 2007 under 2-15-2029, MCA as an independent Quasi-judicial board. And as allowed by statute the Council adopted Administrative Rules in order to implement the provisions of Title 44, chapter 4, part 4, MCA. Per 44-4-403, MCA the Council is required to set employment and training standards for all Public Safety Officers as defined in 44-4-401, MCA and in addition the Council shall provide for the certification or recertification of public safety officers and for the suspension or revocation of certification of public safety officers.

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Gambling Control Division

Through the Gambling Control Division, the Department of Justice regulates all forms of gambling in Montana, except for the Montana Lottery and horse racing. The legislature has charged the division with maintaining a uniform regulatory climate that is fair and free of corrupt influences. The division is also responsible for collecting gambling revenue for state and local governments.

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The mission of the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is to identify and promote efficient, cost-effective programs that benefit the interests, safety, and well-being of Montana citizens through licensing, registering, and regulating the motoring activities of the public. The MVD continuously strives for excellence in customer service. Streamlining the way we do business has allowed us to improve our efficiency and make our services more convenient for our customers.

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Office of Consumer Protection

Enforce consumer laws designed to protect the consumer from unfair or deceptive business practices. Enforce statutes relating to telephone solicitation and telemarketing. Provide information to consumers about the Consumer Protection Act. Assist consumers by distributing consumer education materials including scam and consumer alerts. Investigate false, misleading, or deceptive trade practices.

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Human Trafficking

The Montana Department of Justice has a continued commitment to victims of human trafficking. In partnership with federal authorities, our agency plays a key role in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of crimes related to human trafficking in Montana. This form of modern day slavery does happen here in Big Sky Country.

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Safe in Your Space

When it comes to embracing new technology, kids have rapidly outpaced their parents and teachers. By their early school years, many children are already more comfortable on the Internet than their parents. But just because children are smart enough to know how to navigate the Internet, doesn’t mean they have the experience to make good decisions about some of the possibilities they may face online.

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Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Program

Montana’s deadliest drugs aren’t made in secret labs and they don’t always come from dealers on the corner. They’re in our own medicine cabinets. Each year, prescription drug abuse contributes to the deaths of more than 300 Montanans — making prescription drug abuse 15 times more deadly than meth, heroin and cocaine combined. Our kids report the third-highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the country and more than half of them say prescription drugs are easier to get than street drugs.

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Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry

Created by the Montana Department of Justice in 1989, the Sexual or Violent Offender Registry is a valuable resource for Montanans to protect their families against sexual or violent offenders.

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Montana 24/7 Sobriety Program

Drinking and driving has been a chronic – and deadly — problem on Montana’s roadways for decades. In 2008, Montana was ranked as the deadliest state in the nation when it came to per capita DUI-related traffic fatalities.

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Work for Justice

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