As of Thursday, October 24th, more than 700 fake or misleading sites that are claiming to be associated with the healthcare.gov website have been popping up all over the internet. These sites are being used to steal information that people enter in hopes of getting health coverage.
According to the Washington Examiner, many of the sites are “considered” legal even though they are not related to or have nothing to do with the government Obamacare program.
An example is one site that has actually branded itself as “The Obamacare Enrollment Team”. It then prompts people to enter their name, social security number, address, and more on an enrollment form. You can imagine what all someone can do with all of that information. There is a site called: www.obama-care.us which someone registered through Godaddy that doesn’t enroll anyone in anything and just takes their information. It is owned by a Georgia company that also owns 167 squatter sites.
While squatter sites are nothing new, they are definitely exposing a very large problem. They have been used in the past by companies to either draw traffic from competitors or to gather information and sell that information to marketers and in some cases people who would use that information to do financial harm. You can read more about this in this article.
Unsuspecting users can be prompted to answer any number of very personal and private information through these sites. Information regarding mental and physical health, family health, personal account information, and social security information, just to name a few.
To prevent this kind of activity, many sites purchase any domain that might possibly be associated with their domain and then point that to the official website. It has experts stumped why the healthcare.gov site had not picked up all of the very obvious domains that are now being used by “cyber squatters”. There are currently more than 222 websites trying to take advantage of the healthcare.gov name and another 500 squatting on state exchange websites.