Many people still feel protected from identity theft as long as they stay off the internet. This week’s post is a reminder that much of identity theft is still low tech. It’s dumpster diving and, in this case, capitalizing on low security in a health provider’s facility.
The message is we need to be vigilant of our paperwork at all times. We need to do things like keep and eye on the mail box, shred personally identifying information, and keep our fiduciaries on the ball as well. The latter is harder than the former since it involves a perhaps uncomfortable interaction with those we trust–still, we need to make sure our doctors, accountants, financial planners and everyone else we entrust with our personal information are also taking steps to protect us.
Here’s is the cautionary tale:
Chelsea Catherine Stewart of Birmingham, Alabama has been sentenced for 39 months for wrongfully obtaining individually identifiable health information. She also plead guilty to attempted bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
This may seem like another story about a health care worker stealing patient information. But this one is a bit different. Chelsea was visiting a friend at Trinity Medical Center. When there was no one monitoring the patient files, she helped herself and copied the information of patients down.
This is what we call low tech hacking. It is the basic steps like locking files and shredding that must be taken to protect information.
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