Medical ID Theft is a Way Bigger Problem Than You Think
Forget Target and Home Depot. You may be risking identity theft every time you visit the doctor’s office.
Medical ID theft, in which thieves steal your Social Security number and health insurance info in order to fraudulently obtain medical services or treatment, is skyrocketing.
More than 90 percent of healthcare organizations have had a data breach, and 40 percent had more than five data breaches in the past two years, according to a report released last month by ID Experts. Attacks by criminal organizations are up 125 percent over the past five years. Medical identities are worth far more on the black market than financial identities.
The study estimates that data breaches may have cost the industry $6 billion in the last two years. The scariest stat for consumers: Half of organizations surveyed have little or no confidence in their ability to detect all patient data loss or theft.
Related: Now You Could Lost Your Medical Identity, Too
Victims of medical ID theft spend thousands to restore their credit and correct inaccuracies in their medical records, and unlike banks and credit card issuers, most healthcare organizations offer no protection services for victims.
In addition to the financial toll, there are health risks to victims of medical ID theft. If someone steals your identity and receives treatment that gets added to your medical records, doctors may have incorrect information regarding your health history and allergies.
It’s difficult to prevent medical ID theft, but monitoring your credit and closely reading your healthcare bill and explanation of benefits notices can help you catch it early.
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