Medical Identity Theft – why you should be vigilant!

medical-9m1hww2jfvMost people think of identity theft as having something to do with finances. Medical identity theft is not on people’s minds. It should be! Why?

Your personal health insurance information can be used by thieves to steal expensive medical services like surgeries, expensive prescription drugs, medical equipment or devices. It could be used to falsify insurance claims to get government health benefits from Medicare or Medicaid (MediCal in CA).

Your own medical records may become corrupted with data and procedures that thieves have acquired through your medical records. The thieves own medical history and diagnoses (true or fraudulent) may get mixed with yours.  The danger is that procedures and diagnoses you need may be delayed or get confused when doctors try to interpret your records with yours and their data. Cleaning up these records may require extensive work on your part.

Lower your risk by being careful with your IDs such as medical cards, social security cards and numbers, and drivers license. Check your medical records periodically to see if data in them is correct or if something is amiss – a warning sign. Carefully read every explanation of benefits and billing statement you receive and question what doesn’t seem right or you don’t understand or never received.

Warning signs may be calls from debt collectors. So check your credit reports annually to spot debt credit bureaus are recording as unpaid or accounts you don’t recognize. The thieves are putting you on the spot for these expenses. It is always wise to get a copy of your medical records after each visit – it is your right to see your medical records.

Contact the facility for medical expenses reported that you don’t recognize. Do the same with your insurer. If something is amiss, file a police report since this establishes that you were the victim of a crime. File a report at  and get a plan there as to how to recover, etc.

You may find out more on the Federal Trade Commission’s website “Medical Identity Theft” or at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “Medical ID Theft/Fraud Information.”


Photo by Luis Llerena on 

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