Medical Identity Theft Awareness

Why is it that consumers lack medical identity theft awareness considering the dire consequences and despite the availability of so many articles on our identity theft blog and other websites? It is reported that medical identity theft affects about 2 million people annually which is about 20% of all identity theft cases. Medical identity fraud is one of the fastest growing types of identity theft which by the way is committed by a family member without authorization in about 30% of all medical fraud cases.

Consumer experiences shared with us and posted as comments on many websites suggest that people normally start paying attention to identity theft after they become victims of identity theft. This reaction is not very different from the business world where money is spent carefully if at all to reduce identity theft risks. Companies have tendency to ignore all risks in general unless the consequences have direct impact on revenue and profits which then justify any expenditure to reduce the risks. That's exactly why compliance matters always take the back seat until consequences of regulatory audits such as negative publicity, fines and penalties start to add up and force management to take action.

Similarly, consumers apply the same pattern of thinking. We all know that identity theft is not avoidable but considering the identity theft statistics, not only millions of people become victims of identity theft but many of the victims experience identity fraud more than once in their lifetime. Therefore, reducing the number of identity theft incidents through proper detection and prevention reduces the overall risk and costs.

According to reported statistics, 50% of people don't know that medical identity theft can place their lives at risk and even cause death due to inaccuracies in their medical reports. This lack of medical identity theft awareness on the part of consumers prevents them from actively monitoring and detecting identity theft which can lead to unauthorized use of the victim’s personal information to receive medical treatment, goods and payments. Consumers are generally unaware that erroneous records entered into their medical reports can kill them which is a high non-monetary price that some medical identity theft victims may pay.  

Medical Identity Theft Protection Tips

  • Keep all your health related documents for future reference.
  • Protect health insurance information by securing insurance cards, explanation of benefits, and any other medical correspondence.
  • Share your health insurance information only with trusted parties.
  • Monitor the explanation of benefits received from medical insurance companies and even obtain an annual summary of all the benefits paid to detect medical fraud. Then contact the company and health provider to inquire about medical charges for care that you did not receive and follow up on all unknown medical treatments even if you owe no money because the treatment data can enter your records and affect medical decisions made about your health.
  • Monitor your credit reports to detect any unauthorized medical accounts or collection efforts from medical service providers for treatments that you are unaware of.

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