Saturday, October 13, 2007

ID Thieves Steal Medical Services, Cause More Pain

by Rick Kam

In an article written by Victoria E. Knight on October 11, 2007 in the Wall Street Journal, Escalating Healthcare Costs Fuel Medical ID theft, Victoria explains:

"One of the biggest threats posed by medical identity theft is that victims can receive the wrong medical treatment based on the fraudulent information in their medical records. (You are allergic to penicillin, the impostor isn't.) In addition, theft can cause victims to fail pre-employment medical exams or become uninsurable."

What is Medical ID Theft?

Medical identity theft is when someone uses your name and health insurance without your knowledge or consent to obtain medical treatment, prescription drugs or goods. At least a half-million Americans have been affected, according to Pam Dixon, Executive Director of the World Privacy Forum, a San Diego research group that focuses on privacy issues.

What can be done to protect yourself from Medical ID theft?

Like protecting yourself other forms of ID theft, we suggest being aware of potential misuse of your personal data. Check those explanation of benefits statements you get after visiting the doctor to make sure the medical services you received are accurate, and that you were the one that received them.

There are new identity monitoring solutions in the market that detect both financial and non-financial fraud (i.e. medical ID Theft). Credit monitoring is not effective in detecting this issue or many other issues involving non-financial crimes.