The healthcare sector has been plagued with fraud for a long time now. Since medical identity theft can be difficult to detect as it goes unnoticed unless a person requires medical assistance. The perpetrator who steals your medical information can reap benefits for a long period and the theft can go unnoticed. Over 27 per cent of total fraud cases are of medical identity theft. The mine of information our medical records include is what makes it so attractive for fraudsters to steal. Not to mention the fact that all such information is worth thousands of dollars over the dark web. Healthcare providers need to consider identity authentication of patients to prevent the compromise of medical data on their end.
Experts outline the grave consequences of medical identity theft as life-threatening. Since your medical identity is being used by another person, your medical history gets tainted by their personal information and thus their medical information. If that information is then used to administer drugs, medicines and blood transfusions to you, it could have fatal consequences for your life. In other circumstances, you and the person who steals your medical insurance have the same medical condition, and you need to have a certain procedure performed. Only the hospital or your caregiver cannot be administered as it has already been done on the fraudster claiming to be you. But how to find out if your medical information has been compromised?
How to Tell if You Are a Victim of Medical Identity Theft?
To know if your medical identity is safe requires some vigilance and care on your part. Some ways in which you can tell that you are a victim of medical identity theft include;
- Your medical file has some kind of error(s), sometimes imperceptible. Even the smallest errors can signal suspicious activity. Make sure you ask for your medical records from your doctor.
- Phishing emails are often sent out under the guise of someone claiming to be your insurance provider. Beware and never give out your personal information via e-mail, phone or direct message.
- Your Explanation of Benefits statements includes procedures or prescription that you do not remember receiving.
- Your credit score declines all of a sudden as you have a medical payment due that appears on your credit report out of nowhere.
All such warning signs point towards something suspicious and should be looked at in depth. However, often when you realise that your medical information has been compromised, it is already too late and sufficient damage has been caused in your name. Some of the ways in which you can prevent this from happening include;
Go Through Your EOB Statement Regularly
Your EOB statement is issued by your insurance provider regularly and should be reviewed carefully. Make sure to comb every inch of your EOB statements and check for any procedure, prescription or treatment that you do not remember taking. Although these statements can be hard to interpret in cases where a person has multiple conditions, who cannot distinguish one procedure from the other. If that happens, corroborate the dates and name or place of the hospital or clinic to check if you have been there at the same dates.
Obtain Copies of Your Records
Your medical records are the key to checking if you are being defrauded. Obtaining records from your doctors and healthcare providers can be difficult but worth the effort. If anything has been misrepresented or an error has occurred while entering your information, you have a right to have it corrected. Wrong information can point towards medical identity theft.
Keep Your Medical Records Safe
Aside from monitoring your medical records, it is also important that you keep those records safe, both physically as well as electronically, with you in case of any foul play. If by chance you are a victim of identity theft you can provide the authorities with proof of services that have been rendered to you.
Frequent Healthcare Providers That Have Fraud Protection
It is not entirely up to patients to be vigilant about their medical information. Healthcare providers also share some of that responsibility. Healthcare providers are now realising the gravity of the situation and are either implementing monitoring on patient data or using an identity authentication service to verify the identities of patients. It is usually carried out through document verifications and facial recognition.