Medical identity theft is another form of identity theft. It can happen when someone steals your identity. If can affect your finances and your health. There are warning signs that may indicate whether you have been a victim of identity theft. Some of these signs are as follows:
- Receiving a bill for services you did not receive
- A debt collect contacts you about a bill you do not owe
- Your credit report shows medical collections notices you do recognize
- you try to make a legitimate insurance claim and your health plan says you’ve reached your limit on benefits; or
- You are denied insurance because your medical records show a condition you do not have.
This type of identity theft can be dangerous because it creates false information in your medical records that could affect the type of medical care you receive.
There are steps you can take to limit the possibility of becoming a victim of identity theft. These safeguards are the same that you would to protect yourself from identity theft in general.
- Make sure you know whom you are giving information – do not give out information over the phone or mail unless you have initiated. Be cautious of offers for free medical services, these ar often ruses to get your medical information such as your Medicare number to perpetrate Medicare fraud.
- Keep medical information in a secure location
- Shred any documents that may have personal or medical information on them before you place them in the trash.
If you believe, you are a victim of medical identity theft
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or by phone at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.
- File a report with your local police, and send copies of the report to your health plan’s fraud department, your health care provider(s), and the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Information on how to file a police report is at www.ftc.gov/idtheft/consumers/defend.html.
- Exercise your right under HIPAA to correct errors in your medical and billing records.