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Consumer expert warns of Affordable Care Act scams

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

John Sours said he expects crooks to start targeting Georgians using the Affordable Care Act as a ruse. 

"I hate to be a cynic but this happens every time there's a new piece of legislation," said Sours. 

Sours, administrator of the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection, doesn't handle health insurance complaints but said it's important for consumers to avoid giving their personal information to anyone who initiates the contact. 

Sours said scammers are likely cooking up official-looking emails that lead readers to sites that ask for sensitive information like Social Security numbers and birth dates. Sours said he expects some scammers to call consumers and even knock on doors.  

"People are very possibly going to be contacted and told they have been pre-enrolled, precleared or prescreened. All they need is a little bit of information.  This is a typical scam," said Sours.  

To avoid scams, consumers can go straight to Healthcare.gov to enroll. There are lists of local healthcare agencies who can assist applicants in completing the paperwork.

But Republican state Sen. Judson Hill of Cobb County said in a news conference Wednesday that he has grave concerns about fraud in the system. Hill, who opposes the Affordable Care Act, said Tuesday's crash of the enrollment website serves as a warning about the new law's potential risk to patient information.

"Yesterday was clear evidence that you should not consider participating in one of these exchange programs until the process has been fully proven to protect you," said Hill.

Sours warned senior citizens not to be fooled by scammers who claim the ACA requires changes to their Medicare plan.

"That's not true," said Sours. 

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