I read an article about a medical receptionist who plead guilty for involvement in an identity theft scheme. The receptionist had stolen bank and credit card information from 37 patients and received $200 to $500 for the information of each victim.
A doctor’s visit, which is supposed to be for regular checkups, is now becoming a playing field for identity thieves to steal personal information for financial gain. How does this all work? Well, when you check into your doctor’s office or clinic, most require two identifying documents such as an insurance card and a photo ID. Depending on the insurance you have, a co-pay may be required and most people tend to pay with a credit card. This kind of information in the wrong hands can cost you your good name and identity.
It has been estimated that at least a quarter to a half million Americans have been victims of medical identity theft and the numbers are continuing to grow. These are disturbing numbers. However, you can’t go through life avoiding a doctor’s visit or feeling paranoid about every medical assistant you meet. What you can do is be vigilant about protecting your identity and your credit. Here are a few helpful tips if you happen to be a medical identity theft victim:
– Monitor your credit reports
– Review copies of credit reports and place a fraud alert if you notice unpaid medical bills in your name
– If someone has stolen your identity or credit card information, file an identity theft police report and provide copies to your medical insurance provider
Question – Do you feel safe providing a photo ID, insurance card, and credit card at your doctor’s office? Do you think there should be other options to identify yourself?
Please feel free to comment, we would like to hear from you.