MCC Daily Tribune Archive

Deadly Fraud: Medical Identity Theft

The criminal act of medical identity theft can be life threatening, as its actions can alter your medical care record to illicitly obtain medical care, buy drugs, or submit fake billings to Medicare or insurance companies under your name.  It can be more difficult to detect this form of identity theft, as it’s observed ‘symptoms’ may vary between various victims. For example, some victims find out about medical identity theft when a debt collector notifies them of an issue. Other victims might have noticed an error in their health record and confirmed it with their health care provider.  Others may only find out after an insurance investigator alerts them of a problem, or even after they get an unexpected bill for a health service they did not receive.

To protect yourself from this kind of fraud you should request and review a copy of current medical files from each of your health care providers. Promptly correct erroneous and false information in your file will reduce your risk. Closely monitor any “Explanation of Benefits” sent by a public or private health insurer.

For the approximate 2.32 million Americans who are current victims of medical identity theft, Ponemon Institute studies indicate that 65% of these victims had to pay an average of $13,500 to resolve the crime. Unlike consumer credit card fraud expenses which get capped at $50 for the victim, medical identity theft victim liabilities are considerably more significant and can drain your savings.

Stay vigilant - be on the look-out for this increasing identity fraud type.

Jeff Dunker
Communications and Network Services