Medical identity theft can destroy your credit and make your life difficult. It differs from other types of identity theft, and it isn’t easy to resolve.
Learn more about medical identity theft:
1. Understand medical identity theft basics. Medical identity theft occurs when a person steals your private information to get treatments, surgeries, or medications. The person may use your entire history or background, and the doctors may even be fooled.
• Victims of medical identity theft have to deal with incorrect medical records and are left with the bills.
• In some cases, medical identity theft has led to incorrect investigations by agencies such as Child Protective Services. The victims struggle to prove they’re innocent and have suffered from identity theft.
2. Pay attention to your medical records. Periodically, request your complete medical records to check for errors and identity theft.
• Pay attention to any mistakes you notice in your records. If you see medications, surgeries, and other treatments that you never had, contact the doctors or hospitals and request further information.
• Notify your insurance company of any mistakes you find in the records.
3. Avoid sharing your personal information. Try not to give out your Social Security number and other personal info to anyone. If a company says they must have it, ask why and find out what measures they take to keep your information secure.
• In addition, avoid mentioning your insurance company data to friends or strangers. You may be putting yourself at risk of medical identity theft by telling them about your health plans and coverage.
• As it turns out, many cases of identity theft occur because friends and other family members use the information.
4. Keep copies of your records. Even if you’ve already paid the bills, maintain copies of your medical records.
5. Beware of scams that ask for your data. In some cases, fake companies and businesses collect your data and sell it to others to commit medical identity theft.
• Never give your personal information to anyone who calls you on the phone or asks for your personal information by email.
6. Pay attention to your credit reports. If you see unpaid medical bills on your credit reports, someone may have stolen your medical identity.
• If you notice unfamiliar accounts for medical treatments and services or see collections activity on unpaid medical bills, then it’s time to investigate.
7. Take action. If you discover medical identity theft has occurred, it’s important to take action immediately.
• Contact your insurance company and let them know about the medical identity theft. Your company may have a special antifraud division that works with these cases.
• Contact the Federal Trade Commission and the three major credit reporting agencies about the theft.
• In addition, you can contact the Social Security Administration, attorney general’s office, Department of Health and Human Services, Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse, and others who may be able to help.
• Keep track of all the records, paperwork, emails, and phone calls.
Medical identity theft is a growing issue that is affecting more people each day. Follow these tips and protect yourself and your family from this type of identity theft.