This article emphasizes the behavioral aspects of id theft protection with a focus on medical identity theft, the fastest growing fraud crime sub category of identity theft fraud. Readers are invited to comment and write the author with questions.
Prevent identity theft
Identity theft prevention is most important as fixing an identity fraud crime is expensive in terms of actual dollars as well as hours spent to restore your good name.
The implementation of a high-level privacy living plan is preferred over the purchase of costly identity theft insurance and is more effective in the opinion of this author. The author recommends high-level privacy living as a means of identity theft “self insurance”.
Identity theft insurance plans lock the policy holder into payment of perpetual premiums. Additionally, one who buys the insurance will be required to provide highly sensitive and privacy-invasive personal and confidential information to the insurance company, and this information may be available to many thousands of people who access the data base where this information is stored.
Avoid Medical Identity Theft
Id theft fraudsters are honing in on victims who own medical insurance policies. Consider these fraud statistics that are direct quotes from this website:
“Medical Identity Theft”
- “More than 1.4 million people have been victimized by medical identity theft. Victims pay about $20,000 each to resolve their cases, and more than half say they had to pay for medical care they didn’t receive in order to restore health coverage. Nearly half of victims also lost health coverage due to the fraud, and nearly one-third said their health premiums rose after they were victimized. Fewer than 10 percent say their incidents were completely resolved. (Ponemon Institute, 2010)
- Medical identity theft is the fastest-growing form of identity theft. (World Privacy Forum, 2006)
- Between 250,000 and 500,000 Americans have been victimized by medical identity theft. (World Privacy Forum, 2006)
- Medical identity theft comprises about 3 percent (249,000) of 8.3 million overall victims of identity theft. (Federal Trade Commission, Identity Theft Survey Report, 2007)”
Based on the above statistics, and the average cost of $20,000 to repair a medical identity theft fraud crime and the quarter of a million reported cases during 2007, it becomes clear that the crime of medical identity theft is becoming an elite score for criminals, and is far and above the average cost of the garden variety, id theft crime of $3,000, (Hall, 2006)
If and when you receive medical treatment, you will want to guard your most sacred identifiers with extreme caution. These include: insurance policy number, insurance company name, name, date of birth, home address, home telephone number, and your most personal of all, your Social Security number.
Avoid identity theft by making behavioral preparations
Prepare for battle.
When you face the Army of clerks who staff the practices of Physicians today, you will necessarily have to provide your insurance policy information and proof of your identity.
Successful privacy advocates do not provide their home address, home telephone number or Social Security number prior to receiving medical treatment due to the risk of having this information stolen by a medical identity thief.
What’s your “social”?
Clerks bark out the question and expect answers or else…..
Stop the nonsense!
You don’t have to participate with the masses who bow and cow to the agents of the authority-types, (Doctors). In fact, if an identity theft prevention plan is at the top of your agenda-and it should be, your risk is undoubtedly higher when your allow your SSN to be obtained by medical providers than if you do not provide it. This is my experienced opinion.
I do not provide my Social Security number to medical providers and believe to do so would place my identity at risk of being stolen. And I, for one, do not want to risk losing $20,000 due to a medical identity theft fraud crime. So, instead, I choose to exercise my assertiveness and negotiate my way toward cooperating with medical providers while still providing “necessary” personal information.
Thanks for reading.