What is Medical Identity Theft
Identity theft is bad. We’ve already seen that in our post series about what identity theft is, what its damages are, how it happens and what you can do to protect yourself against it. Medical Identity Theft, however, is the worst possible kind of identity theft out there.
Strictly speaking, “medical identity” refers to your health, your medical records, your treatments, your insurance, your prescriptions. So you see, when someone steals your medical identity, you can lose so much more than money and reputation. You might lose your health and your insurance!
The “Why” behind medical identity theft
Why would anyone want to steal a medical identity?
Well, we can think of a number of obvious reasons (all of which will cause you grave damage):
1. Someone who doesn’t want to pay for insurance wants to use yours to see doctors and get treated.
2. Someone wants to get drugs prescribed to your name in order to deal them later on the street
3. Someone wants to hurt you by getting your insurance revoked and/or denied
Just like with Cancer and other ailments early detection is key to avoiding the damages of any type of identity theft, and medical identity theft too.
How do you know something might be wrong?You get calls about debts to medical facilities you never used or medical care you did not receive.
- You get calls about debts to medical facilities you never used or medical care you did not receive.
- You get a notice that you’ve reached the limit of your benefit plan.
- You get denied insurance.
- You see charges on your credit report for medical services and providers you do not recognize.
What can you do about it?
- Check your insurance statements frequently
- Read the Medicare summary notice or the benefit explanations carefully
- Check the details of services provided, when and by whom – if it’s not your regular doctor or the dates are off, that’s a sign that something is wrong!
- File a police report if you find anything that doesn’t add up
- Secure your computer! Yes we’re talking about Medical Identity Theft but you’d be surprised how much medical information can be stolen just by hacking your computer. A clever hacker can get details from emails you send to friends and family, from emails you send your healthcare provider (many doctors communicate with patients through email today), from your credit report and insurance statements sent digitally etc.