Medical services aren’t cheap. In fact, MyBankTracker identified illness as one of the top 10 most common causes of debt. So, medical identity theft and its costly repercussions is something that everyone should be concerned about.
In future blog posts, we’ll go into the many different types of medical identity theft. Today, we will go over how to protect your identity from this type of fraud.
Here are some things to consider about your medical information:
• Most medical files contain your name, address, Social Security number, and birth date
• Doctor’s rely on your medical records as a history of your conditions and leverage them when considering treatment options
• Many doctor’s offices and hospitals store medical files in unlocked file cabinets
• Some doctor’s offices and hospitals send old medical records to off-site shredding facilities, where boxes are stored in warehouses until shredded
• With the digitization of medical records, your data will be more accessible to thieves if not properly encrypted
These facts aren’t designed to scare you, just make you aware of the many point of vulnerability that can lead to medical identity theft. However, there are things that you can do to protect yourself. Here are a few tips:
• Leave it blank – Do not include your SSN on any medical forms. Most offices may question you about it, but won’t have a problem with it if you provide an insurance number.
• Protect your numbers – Think of your medical insurance card as a credit card with no limit, and protect it as such. If asked to verbally give your number in a doctor’s office, be aware of your surroundings.
• Check the records – You can request an annual copy of your medical records for each of your doctors. Review all of them and watch for inaccuracies.
• Read your letters – Always open and read your benefits statements and any mail from your insurance company.
• Enroll in ProtectMyID for daily monitoring of your credit reports, Internet scans for your sensitive information (including insurance identification numbers), and timely alerts to key changes.
Following these steps can help you keep your medical information healthy. For more information visit ProtectMyID’s medical identity theft resource page.