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Police warning of new insurance scam

AUGUSTA, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Police are warning residents in West Michigan of an uptick in health insurance scams.

In the last two months the Augusta Police Chief says he's received eight formal complaints, and fielded questions from dozens of people saying they received suspicious phone calls.

People claiming to be health insurance representatives are asking people for personal information over the phone, saying it's because of changes being made by the Affordable Care Act.

Right before Christmas Donna Beatty of Augusta tells Newschannel3 she got a phone call from someone claiming to be with her health insurance company.

"And they said, 'Hey there's going to be some changes coming down the road for you, and we want to discuss them with you,' and I said, 'Well that's funny there was just open enrollment, there's already changes?' 'Yeah, that's what we need to discuss with you,'" said Donna Beatty, a scam victim.

Beatty says she set up an appointment at an address that was given to her in Kalamazoo.

But the day she was supposed to go she got the feeling something wasn't right and called her health care representative.

"And she said there is nobody in that database at that name, there's no address. So I got really anxious, and my heart started beating fast,"

Beatty filed a police report, but hasn't heard back.

Augusta Police Chief Jeff Heppler tells us he hears about calls like this every week.

"It's getting to an epidemic proportion now, where you really have to work to protect your identity, your property," said Chief Jeff Heppler.

Chief Heppler says many of these fraud cases originate overseas and are extremely hard to track locally, so the cases are often turned over to state and federal authorities.

As a victim of credit card fraud himself, Chief Heppler says the best way to protect yourself, "Is if you get suspicious, hang up," said Chief Heppler.

Chief Heppler also tells us these criminals who coerce you to give them your personal information over the phone, may then sell it to a third party.