Medical Identity theft

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MissyJ's picture
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Medical Identity theft

[h=1]Medical identity theft can threaten health as well as bank account[/h]With more and more of our information online and 'digitalized' - the risk of identity theft in one form or another is increasing. We can set bank / credit alerts for unusual activity that threatens solely our pocketbook, but what about medical fraud?

How big a threat do you believe this is and perhaps more importantly, any ideas on protection steps you can take for you and your family's medical identity?

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This is one reason why I'm an advocate for universal healthcare and an integrated single payer system. There is much less incentive to steal another person's medical identity when you have your own access to decent healthcare. I belong to an HMO, which is essentially an integrated single payer system. I have to give my medical record number and some sort of personal identification to book appointments or see a doctor. In person, I have to provide a state-issued ID; on the phone, I have to give my phone number. I think the chances of someone being able to get unauthorized care in my HMO system is very slim. And I can review my medical records, and my kids', online any time I want, and if I noticed a medical appointment that I didn't book or a procedure my child didn't have, I'd bring it to their attention ASAP. It might not get fixed very quickly, but at least there would be a notice in my records that something wasn't right, and anyone in the system who accessed my records would be able to see that notice just as they'd be able to see my blood type and immunization history.

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It is one more worry.. That I choose to ignore.. Wink
We are all in the system.. and it would be super hard to get out of it.. from drivers licences.. to hunting licenses.. to Birth Certificates and Insurance.. Big Brother knows what we are up to..
Even with no paper trail.. one can be found and taken advantage of.. So I ignore it..

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"Rivergallery" wrote:

It is one more worry.. That I choose to ignore.. Wink
We are all in the system.. and it would be super hard to get out of it.. from drivers licences.. to hunting licenses.. to Birth Certificates and Insurance.. Big Brother knows what we are up to..
Even with no paper trail.. one can be found and taken advantage of.. So I ignore it..

Wait....what?! I agree with you!!!

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"Rivergallery" wrote:

It is one more worry.. That I choose to ignore.. Wink
We are all in the system.. and it would be super hard to get out of it.. from drivers licences.. to hunting licenses.. to Birth Certificates and Insurance.. Big Brother knows what we are up to..
Even with no paper trail.. one can be found and taken advantage of.. So I ignore it..

I agree with you too!!!

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I know that for my province you have to show photo id with your health card at the hospital. Some provinces have photo health cards.

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"Spacers" wrote:

This is one reason why I'm an advocate for universal healthcare and an integrated single payer system. There is much less incentive to steal another person's medical identity when you have your own access to decent healthcare. I belong to an HMO, which is essentially an integrated single payer system. I have to give my medical record number and some sort of personal identification to book appointments or see a doctor. In person, I have to provide a state-issued ID; on the phone, I have to give my phone number. I think the chances of someone being able to get unauthorized care in my HMO system is very slim. And I can review my medical records, and my kids', online any time I want, and if I noticed a medical appointment that I didn't book or a procedure my child didn't have, I'd bring it to their attention ASAP. It might not get fixed very quickly, but at least there would be a notice in my records that something wasn't right, and anyone in the system who accessed my records would be able to see that notice just as they'd be able to see my blood type and immunization history.

A single payer system would not fix all causes of medical identity theft. A friend of mine that is a physician says that most of the time when she sees people trying to get away with this it is an attempt to get more pain pills. Most states now have systems that track pain pill prescriptions in an attempt to catch the people that are doctor hopping to get more pills. People are now trying to use other identities to circumvent this.

I am especially sensitive to identity theft of any kind, it has taken me almost 8 years to recover from someone using my SS#. But I am not as concerned with medical identity theft. My insurance emails me an EOB every time anyone in my family goes to the doctor or a lab, so it find it easy to track.

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Well I'm sure this is not in the sense you're referring to, but I'm an RN, and I worry about someone getting a hold of my license and using it. Now all licenses are online, not that the info can't still be gotten to though. I thought there was little risk of this until recently. I had been working with someone who'd stolen the identity of an LPN from New York. They had almost the same name, and she had been working as an LPN without a license for years! Quite a scary thought....

So not just our medical information is at risk, but medical licenses apparently too. I've been wondering, is there a way to check to see if one's license is being used anywhere else? I'm not aware of a way myself, but that doesn't mean there's not.

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"mom3girls" wrote:

I am especially sensitive to identity theft of any kind, it has taken me almost 8 years to recover from someone using my SS#. But I am not as concerned with medical identity theft. My insurance emails me an EOB every time anyone in my family goes to the doctor or a lab, so it find it easy to track.

Same here. Someone got my SS# and took out a credit card in my name, but to a different address. I didn't find out about it until there was a big debt to pay, and while I got it straightened out, that person's fake address still pops up from time to time as belonging to me, so I'm not entirely free of it. I do everything I can to avoid giving out my SS# to anyone as a form of ID because of that, you never know who's jotting it down.

Truth be told that's why I think online shopping with a credit card is safer than handing it to a person in a restaurant who then walks away with it and can write down all the useful info before handing it back.

But yes, just like a detailed credit card bill, we get a detailed list back every time our insurance is used. I wouldn't even put "medical identity theft" in a different category, it's just identity theft and it can be used for anything. It sucks when it happens but I don't see how to prevent it so I don't sweat it. If it happens I'll deal with it.

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You know what I hate that can probably help contribute to identity theft? Those credit card machines where you sign your name on the machine that captures it, because that record of your exact signature is now linked to your credit card information. I used to refuse to sign and insisted on a paper copy, but it seems that you can't do that anymore. So now whenever I have to sign one of those, I sign only my initials and a smiley face so even if someone steals the info, they can't use it because it's not my real signature. Smile I checked the fine print on my credit union card agreement and this doesn't violate any of their rules.

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"Spacers" wrote:

You know what I hate that can probably help contribute to identity theft? Those credit card machines where you sign your name on the machine that captures it, because that record of your exact signature is now linked to your credit card information. I used to refuse to sign and insisted on a paper copy, but it seems that you can't do that anymore. So now whenever I have to sign one of those, I sign only my initials and a smiley face so even if someone steals the info, they can't use it because it's not my real signature. Smile I checked the fine print on my credit union card agreement and this doesn't violate any of their rules.

I don't think the signature has a lot of value these days anyway. Honestly if I report fraud on my card, they won't challenge me unless I've had multiple instances of it to the point that it looks suspicious. On most of my cards the signature has rubbed off already anyway!

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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I don't think the signature has a lot of value these days anyway. Honestly if I report fraud on my card, they won't challenge me unless I've had multiple instances of it to the point that it looks suspicious. On most of my cards the signature has rubbed off already anyway!

Agreed about the card fraud, but my point is that, if someone gets a copy of your real signature, they can use it in other ways. It used to be the only way to get your signature was to copy it from somewhere, somehow; now it's zooming through potentially hackable POS networks and being discarded in unsecure recycle bins when we clean out our wallets.

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"Spacers" wrote:

Agreed about the card fraud, but my point is that, if someone gets a copy of your real signature, they can use it in other ways. It used to be the only way to get your signature was to copy it from somewhere, somehow; now it's zooming through potentially hackable POS networks and being discarded in unsecure recycle bins when we clean out our wallets.

Meh. Just as easy for some random clerk or salesperson or restaurant server to get it and do that. I'm not really disagreeing with you, but I see it as a comparable situation and nothing I can really do about it except to be vigilant about my credit card statement.