I'm sure a lot of you have heard of identity theft but what about Medical identity theft?
It's possible and it's happening. A recent data breach at Beth Israel hospital in Massachusetts has left many of its patients at risk of having their medical identity stolen. Medical identity theft is a spin on regular identity theft as it can affect your finances and credit, but it can also affect your health.
What are the warning signs that someone is trying to steal your medical identity?
1. You get a medical bill for services you did not receive
2. A debt collector contacts you regarding a bill for medical services you did not receive
3. You get a copy of our credit report and you see medical collection notices that you do not recognize
4. You try to make a legitimate insurance claim but your health plan says you have reached our limit
5. You are denied medical insurance coverage because your medical records indicate a condition that you do not have
Not only could your finances be affected by medical identity theft, but your medical records and history could be altered which may lead to you receiving improper treatment which may cause illness or worse.
To stay protected, make sure you do the following...
1. Verify sources before giving out information. Giving out medical or personal information over the phone or through e-mail can be risky business and put you are higher risk of having your medical identity stolen.
2. Safeguard your medical and health insurance information. Make sure that your paper files and any medical information you have is protected either under lock and key by using a secure medical archiving vendor or, if your information is online, make sure it is password protected. Always check the security of a website before entering your social security number or credit card information.
3. Properly dispose of your records. If you keep your medical records for a period of time, when the time comes to get rid of your records, never just toss them in the trash. Make sure they are securely shredded and disposed of afterwards.
For more information on how to protect your medical identity, visit
and if you think your rights under HIPAA have been violated, please visit