Be Wary of Medical Identity Theft

Our mission at HV Shred, Inc. is to use this blog to keep the public up to date on the latest in identity theft news and prevention. Compiled by the FTC, the following information should help raise awareness about a form of identity theft many do not realize could affect not only their finances, but also their health—it’s called Medical Identity Theft.

How would you know if your personal, health, or health insurance information has been compromised? According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, you may be a victim of medical identity theft if:
· you get a bill for medical services you didn’t receive;
· a debt collector contacts you about medical debt you don’t owe;
· you order a copy of your credit report and see medical collection notices you don’t 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 don’t have.

Medical identity theft may change your medical and health insurance records: Every time a thief uses your identity to get care, a record is created with the imposter’s medical information that could be mistaken for your medical information – say, a different blood type, an inaccurate history of drug or alcohol abuse, test results that aren’t yours, or a diagnosis of an illness, allergy or condition you don’t have. Any of these could lead to improper treatment, which in turn, could lead to injury, illness or worse.

More on steps to deter, detect, and defend against medical identity theft in a future blog. In a nut shell, protect your personal information at every turn—don’t share unless you know and trust the receiver and be mindful of how you’re storing and disposing of your personally identifying information. For data that is obsolete, consider contacting us to set up an appointment to shred and recycle. More at www.hvshred.com

by Judith

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