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Medical ID Theft Rockets Up

from  the Arizona Republic – by Mark Pribish –

Health-care organizations have become data-breach targets. Medical-related ID theft accounted for 44 percent of all data breaches in 2013 as reported by the Identity Theft Resource Center. That’s up a whopping 14 percent from 2012’s 30 percent total.

The Federal Trade Commission defines medical-identity theft as the fraudulent acquisition of someone’s personal information — name, Social Security number, health insurance number — for the purpose of illegally obtaining medical services or devices, insurance reimbursements or prescription drugs.

Current and former employees and vendors of companies that have access to protected health information are often an easy resource and “gap in information security” to steal and/or fraudulently use the information.

But disturbing findings from the 2013 Ponemon Institute Survey on Medical Identity Theft brings the sad realization that insiders — defined as family, friends and caregivers — are the main perpetrators of medical-ID theft.

Consumers should review all medical bills, Medicare summary notices, explanation of benefits statements, and regularly review their credit reports (by going to www.annualcreditreport.com) to help protect themselves from medical-ID theft.

Consumers polled in a 2013 Harris Interactive Survey indicated that they would change health-care-related providers as a result of a data breach. The survey suggested that more than 40 percent of consumers would change pharmacies and seek a new doctor or dentist if their data were compromised.

So what can be done? Consumers should ask their health-care provider about the provider’s current information-security policy and how their information is being protected.

Health-care providers can be more open and transparent on their information-security protocol and technology and how they are protecting personal data. But a majority lack effective information-security and governance policies resulting in the erosion of patient privacy and an increase in medical-ID theft. New technologies, including unsecured mobile devices, create opportunities for identity thieves.

Finally, government, health-care providers, insurers and others should intensify proactive consumer education to help all Americans and especially senior citizens (and their family members) better understand the increasing trend of medical-identity fraud and how to reduce the problem.

Mark’s Most Important: Be vigilant and don’t wait until you need medical care to determine if your protected health information has been stolen.

Mark Pribish is vice president and ID-theft practice leader at Merchants Information Solutions Inc., an ID theft-background screening company based in Phoenix.

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Dave

We, as LegalShield Independent associates (www.legalshieldassociate.com/hub/davelu), have the best answer because our ID Theft protection and full restoration can include nationwide legal services and 24/7 access for emergencies!

Kevin Seitz

This was part of Osama bin Obama’s plan when he and his fellow Bolsheviks shoved OsamaCare down our throats. Create more chaos through Identity Theft so Osama will have yet another lame excuse to declare Martial Law and make himself Dictator For Life…….
The very existence of OsamaCare is another step in that direction.

ONTIME

This computerized UN-AFC act has been a open disaster in numerous ways and among the major problems it has inflicted upon those using it it is the lack of security with sensitive personnel info no matter your status once you entered the system, this program is a unmitigated disaster for Americans….Your exposure to ID theft is criminal and who is going to make the government pay for their mistakes, they act as though your life is not important but you had better pay and have that over priced insurance they are forcing down your throat.
Eventually this monumental error by a corrupt political group will be corrected by a complete work over or repeal and return to the free market of ideas and competition but don’t hold your breath and make sure you have a good ID protection plan….

KarenFaye

We subscribe to Lifelock – and though we are on a strict budget – have made sure to include this in it. Can’t imagine being subjected to the nightmare of identity theft at our ages!!!!! I agree with the person who said “hang the identity thieves as they used to horse thieves” …… be sure to use a really coarse rope, too.

Donald Jeune

Further instruction is required on how to eliminate outsiders access to our medical records.

Many of us are not able to respond to this threat without information. Thank you.

D.A.

Identity theft of any variety needs to be treated the way horse theft was in the old west. It was understood that a horse was an item essential to survival, so it wasn’t merely the loss of easily replaceable property. The penalties now for this crime only encourage more of it.

Lynne Clarke

Medical identity theft is made easier by the fact that our Social Security number and our Medicare number is the same. This gives anyone with access to our medical records all the information they need to hack into of financial and personal information, as well. This seems to me like a good place to start in creating a more secure system.

PaulE

Good information for AMAC members to know about. Yes, everyone has to be vigilant about trying to safeguard their personal information at all times. Not just related to medical care, but to all facets of their lives. I’m waiting to see the spikes in identity theft that will no doubt start being reported later this year and early next year. All as a result of the virtual lack of security safeguards built into the Obamacare web site. That should keep Mr. Pribish’s company quite busy going forward.