Medical Identity Theft is defined as someone obtaining your personal information to use for goods and services related to the medical field. This can include but is not limited to: purchasing prescription drugs, seeing a doctor using your name and insurance policy, requiring medical attention at the emergency room, treatments or dental services. There have been instances where an individual’s records get mixed with another person’s file; the result of which can be detrimental and directly affect collection and credit reports if they choose to use your information unlawfully.
In 2013, an estimated 1.8 million consumers experienced medical identity theft. With a growing number of medical facilities experiencing a data breach each year, an estimated 8.2 million medical records were compromised in 2014, accounting for over 300 medical facilities nationwide. At the first sign of a possible discrepancy, contact your insurance provider for a copy of your records. In the event that you do notice an error, you should get in touch with your pharmacy, doctors, clinics and any medical facility where your information could have been used. Occurrences that should raise a red flag include but are not limited to:
- A debt collector calling on a service you did not receive
- Receiving a bill for a service or product that was purchased outside of your current residency
- If you get a notice that your benefits have reached its limits
- Your insurance policy rejects a service because your records show a pre-existing condition that you do not have
- Credit report alert for goods that you have not purchased
If you are concerned that you may be a victim of medical identity theft you can contact the Identity Theft Resource Center, a non-profit organization that has made its mission to help victims of identity theft, both for corporations and consumers. Contact www.idtheftcenter.org or call 888-400-5530.