Identity theft can be fatal to the victim — if it’s of the medical kind. Medical ID theft can result in getting the wrong blood type during a transfusion, the wrong diagnosis or the wrong prescription — all because the thief’s medical history gets integrated with the victim’s.
I hope you’re scared, because that’s my goal.
Up to 43 percent of ID theft is medical, says the Identity Theft Resource Center. The nonfatal fallout of medical identity theft can be quite dastardly, like the crook using your private data to commit other forms of ID theft.
Prevent Medical ID Theft
- Always review your medical bills. Is a bill for service your child never received?
- Never give your health insurance card to anyone for their use.
- Shred medical documents you no longer need, including prescription information.
- Every year, examine your credit report from the big three outfits.
- Give your health insurance card the same protection you’d give a credit card. Contact your insurance company asap if it gets lost. In police reports, include it as a loss if it’s stolen.
- If news breaks of a data breach involving a company you use, inquire about this.
- Be especially alert to reviewing documents if you’ve been receiving extensive medical treatment.
- Call the provider and insurance carrier if you spot an unfamiliar charge on a medical bill.
- Save all relevant documents and record the names of every person you connect with and the dates.
- Contact the big three credit reporting agencies.
- Filing a police report may be necessary.
- If you’ve already been the victim of medical ID theft, inquire about the accuracy of your records with your provider, and request a copy of the records.