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Medical identity theft is on the rise

On March 31, 2014, The Daily Finance website reported a rise in medical identity theft across the country. Cybercriminals are stealing identities of people in order to gain access to free healthcare. Sounds rather strange in light of all the recent news about Obamacare being the “end all and be all” for “low cost” medical insurance for the average American.

But this is no laughing matter. Instead of your credit rating or bank account being at risk, now your very life could be in jeopardy. Think about it. If someone else is using your medical insurance, then all of their ailments and now on your chart. This can lead to some rather fatal mistakes, especially is someone is given the wrong blood type during a transfusion or if they are given medication of which they are known to be allergic.

Other less serious difficulties may be the cancelling of y our medical insurance, prescription refills denied, or credit ratings shattered. According to a recent report published by the Identity Theft Resource Center, as much as 43% of all identity theft cases is now medical identity theft. This is a rather alarming number, and many people have never even heard of medical identity theft in the first place.

According to the Daily Finance,

“The average victim was on the hook for more than $22,000, and it took them more than a year to successfully dispute the charges, clear up their medical records, and repair the damage to their credit. Some victims have had their insurance canceled, often because criminals racked up claims exceeding the policy's lifetime maximum payouts.”

Of course, once a criminal gets ahold of the medical insurance information, everything else is at risk as well. Social security numbers, bank accounts, credit card numbers, and even income tax records can be compromised. Expert in cyber theft recommend to always safeguard your medical insurance cards at all costs, thoroughly review all medical bills and statements, check your credit reports at least once per year, and shred any medical documents that contain sensitive financial information.

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