What it can do to you?
It is in your best interest to find out if you may be a victim of medical identity theft. You may think that it could never happen to you, however when I worked as a ProtectMyID.com Fraud Resolution Agent, I would hear our members who were victimized by this crime say, “I didn’t think this would have ever happened to me”.
Discovering medical identity theft is not like discovering financial identity theft. For instance, some people find out about medical identity theft when a collection agency sends a scathing letter or calls harassing the victim to pay up the debt they did not incur. Others find out after an insurance investigator alerts them to a problem or after they get a strange bill for medical services they did not receive. As a result, fraudsters who use your identity for medical care or services introduce negative changes to your credit reports that can be difficult to undo and end up causing you emotional stress.
How you can find out.
1. Closely examine “Explanation of Benefits” or EOB
Review your insurance statements and if anything appears suspicious, raise questions with the insurer or the provider involved. Do not assume that things are okay just because you don’t owe money.
Identifiers that you’re a victim of medical identity theft include:
• Being charged for services that you did not receive
• Being charged for office visits you did not make
• Being charged for medical equipment you did not receive
2. Request a listing of benefits from your health insurers
It’s s important to do this proactively once a year without waiting for the insurance company to send it to you. If there are payments you do not recognize, follow up with the insurer or provider immediately.
3. Request a copy of your current medical files from each health care provider
You can ask your health care providers to allow you to inspect or have a copy of the medical file they maintain about you. If you notice doctor’s visits you never scheduled, it is a red flag that someone is using your identity.