prevent medical identity theft during the privacy crisis

Do you know how to prevent medical identity theft, the fastest growing identity fraud crime segment of identity theft? Start by understanding that medical providers including doctors, nurses, labratory technicians, hospital administrators, office clerks, and all whom you come in contact with as you seek medical treatment are strangers-not your friends. So, once you understand that these folks should be treated as business people, not trusting friends, you can be on your way to preventing identity theft, and hopefully avoid having your personal data stolen when medical provider employees are careless with your information.

Avoid medical identity theft by not providing your Social Security number to medical providers. Why? Because with this lone identifier, the medical identity thief can literally wreck your entire financial life. He/she can pose as you and receive medical treatment, open credit lines, borrow money for a house, and commit a host of other identity theft crimes.

Provide medical insurance information only when services are to be provided. Often, clerks will ask for medical insurance policy information, and other personal and confidential data over the telephone prior to scheduling the medical appointment. Tell them NO if you want to protect identity and avoid the identity theft fraud crime of medical identity theft.

If the medical service is only a routine office visit, I would opt for paying cash and claiming benefits under insurance plans at a later time to avoid medical identity theft caused by negligent employees of medical providers.

Prevent medical identity theft inside jobs

This article provides privacy living information to prevent medical identity theft from the medical providers and their staff.

Patient identity protection from medical insiders

Think that nice clerk who demands all of your most personal and confidential data has your best interests in mind? Maybe. But, you had better be on guard as medical insiders sometimes become identity thieves, particularly those with access to medical patients’ identities. One such insider, a medical clerk abused patients’ identification information to try and rack up a big score.

Medical office clerk or identity thief?

The following story is a direct quote from this website:

http://blog.timesunion.com/crime/4823/4823/

“A medical records clerk from St. Peter’s Hospital was arrested on charges of stealing patients’ personal information and using it to open credit card accounts, police said, and more unknowing victims could be out there.

Albany County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Johnathan Harwood, 23, of Van Buren Avenue, on Monday for opening credit accounts using stolen Social Security numbers and then purchasing merchandise over the Internet. Police said Hardwood was also using the computers at the hospital to purchase items online.

Undersheriff Craig Apple said Harwood was purchasing small items such as books, to see if he could get away with the crime. “He was testing the waters,” the undersheriff said.

The man, who had worked in the Medical Records Unit for a little less than a year, was discovered when an item he bought online was sent to a victim’s house, Apple said.

The victim reported it to police, who were able to track it back to the computer used to make the purchase. St. Peter’s Hospital administrators immediately suspended Harwood after his arrest. He has since been fired.

Harwood was charged with five counts of second-degree forgery and three counts of second-degree identity, both felonies, and three counts of second-degree criminal impersonation, a misdemeanor. He was arraigned in Albany City Court and released for a future court date since he has no previous criminal record.

Apple said the sheriff’s office is looking for more people who may have had their identities stolen by Hardwood. Those who think they may be affected should call 765-2351.”

In order to prevent identity theft and medical identity theft crimes, the patient will necessarily have to adopt a high-level privacy living lifestyle. And in view of the average medical identity theft crime damage of $20,000.00, a family should keep their identity information confidential while providing only the most basic identity data to medical providers.

Protect identity by not providing  a Social Security number to medical providers

The most vulnerable of all identity documents is the Social Security number. And almost all medical provider forms ask patients for the SSN. All you have to do is say no! Or you may leave yourself wide open to a medical identity thief who may steal your identity to open credit card accounts or credit lines in your name or otherwise abuse your personal and confidential identity information.

The following excerpt is taken from this website:

http://cbs2chicago.com/local/identity.theft.investigation.2.1592890.html

Below are direct quotes from the story. The Social Security number is a dangerous number to share.

“It was clear-cut identity theft; a janitor in the Northwestern Medical Faculty Building is accused of rummaging through patient files, stealing Social Security numbers.”

Anonymous living practices will provide consumer privacy without the threat of medical identity theft.

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id theft and how to prevent medical identity theft

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:

http://www.insurancefraud.org/medicalidentitytheft.htm

“Medical Identity Theft”

  1. “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)
  2. Medical identity theft is the fastest-growing form of identity theft. (World Privacy Forum, 2006)
  1. Between 250,000 and 500,000 Americans have been victimized by medical identity theft. (World Privacy Forum, 2006)
  1. 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.

Grant Hall