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Health & Wellness / Money

The Dangers of Medical ID Theft

health care medical medicine theftSponsored by Identity Guard

In an effort to protect against identity theft, many people focus on guarding their financial information. While the release of that information could lead to fraud, it’s become increasingly important for consumers to be aware of how medical identity theft can create significant damage.

Medical identity theft occurs when a thief uses your name or health insurance numbers to visit a doctor, file insurance claims with a provider, or even get prescriptions, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Inside medical id theft

In the most recent study of medical identity theft, the Ponemon Institute found there has been a steady increase of medical identity theft victims in the past 5 years. According to the survey, 65 percent of victims had to pay an average of $13,500 to resolve the crime, and unfortunately on average, victims didn’t learn of theft until 3 months after it occurred.

This type of identity theft it is difficult to detect, and patients can be vulnerable to the exposure of their personal data in many ways. In the past few years, the healthcare industry has taken the leap into the digital world, storing records online for easier sharing and access among doctors. However, its newness in data technology has left many systems vulnerable to breaches.

Hackers have viewed this move into the future as an opportunity to obtain large amounts of personal information in the least amount of hacks. To worsen matters, medical information is four times as valuable as Social Security Numbers on the dark web, according to NetStandard. This is attributed to the wide range of fake identities thieves can create with information from multiple files, and that medical records can contain addresses and employment histories for criminals to file fake tax returns.

Signs of theft

Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can help protect yourself, and one of those includes knowing the signs of medical identity theft. According to the Federal Trade Commission, some events that indicate medical fraud include:

  • Receiving bills for services you did not receive
  • Seeing incorrect information or medial collection notices on your credit report
  • Being notified by your health care plan that you’ve reached your benefit limit
  • Being denied services because of a health condition you don’t have

It’s also important to be proactive about your own security, especially in an age when so much of our personal information is digital. You should always be selective about what kind of information you share online and use a variety of strong passwords for all your accounts. If you’re still concerned about the state of your identity and other sensitive information, you can invest in an identity theft protection service that can monitor your credit files, Social Security Number and public records to alert you to certain activity that could indicate fraud.

Don’t settle for less than the best when it comes to protecting your personal information.  AMAC has partnered with Identity Guard® – Learn more about Identity Guard today.

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Bob L.

There is no personal identity safety in the electronic data world – period. New ways to get into records are being created all the time and only when found out about can safeguards be created to stop further breaches by the new means, it’s a continuous cat and mouse chase. The safest way to protect our data of all kinds was on paper.

Dan W.

One offline thing you can do: Don’t carry your Medicare ID card unless you are going to a provider for the first time.

Instead, make a copy of your card and ink-out some of the numbers and carry this altered copy of your card. Then if you lose your wallet, the finder only gets part of your Medicare ID number. If you have a medical emergency, any provider will see that you have Medicare and can get your complete ID number from you after providing treatment.