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Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.

 

Medical Identity Theft During Flu Season

Sep 21

medical-id-theft

If fall has arrived, that means a few more things are here with certainty. All things pumpkin, shorter days (and maybe sweater weather), and the approach of flu shot signs popping up at neighborhood grocery stores and druggists can’t be far behind. In recent years, physicians and pharmacists have begun to offer flu shots earlier and earlier to those seeking immunization. And for good reason. It’s because manufacturers are releasing their vaccines earlier to head off the possibility of another epidemic like the H1N1 flu outbreak that occurred in 2009.

Everyone over 6 months old should get a flu shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to research, senior citizens over 65 years of age and young children are the most vulnerable to harm The CDC continues to say that earlier immunizations are more helpful if your goal is to stay flu-free this winter.

If you’re planning to get your flu shot at a pharmacy or another retailer this fall, be sure to safeguard your medical identity during your visit. Recall that medical identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to fraudulently obtain medical services such as treatment, healthcare products or pharmaceuticals, and that it’s an increasingly rare occurrence. Recent pharmaceutical pricing scandals all too plainly highlight the unstable nature of drugs long thought to be common and affordably available, and the risks that those scenarios can induce on the identity theft threat spectrum mean that medical ID theft instances can spike.

Medical identity theft reached an all-time high last year with nearly 2 million people becoming victims in the United States, according to the latest Ponemon Institute Medical Identity Theft survey. To beef up your resilience to medical identity thieves, keep these fresh tips handy

  • During your visit, keep your medical information private and concealed (including your health insurance identification card.) Don’t let it out of your sight or leave it open to public view.
  • Check your medical records for accuracy on a regular basis, and reach out with questions on charges that look unfamiliar
  • Carefully monitor all of your financial statements
  • Review your credit reports at least once per year

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.

Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian company. © 2016 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.