Medical Identity Theft
What is Medical Identity Theft?
Medical identity theft is a twist on traditional identity theft, which happens when someone steals your personal information. Like traditional identity theft, medical identity theft can affect your finances, but it also can take a toll on your health.
Ways to identify if you have been a victim of Medical Identity Theft
You may be a victim of medical identity theft if:
- You get a bill for medical services you did not 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 do not 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 medical condition you do not have.
- Read the Explanation of Benefit (EOB) statements.
- Order a copy of your credit reports.
- Check your social security number, your address(es), name or initials and your employers listed.
- Ask for a copy of all medical records.
- Unlike credit reports, there is no central source for your medical records.
- You need to contact each provider you do business with, including doctors, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, laboratories and health plans in order to request these documents.
How to minimize your risk
- Verify a source before sharing information.
- Be wary of offers of “free” health services or products which require your health plan information.
- Safeguard your medical and health insurance information.
- Never share your information online, or over the phone.
- Treat your trash carefully.
- Shred documents that contain personal information using a cross-cut shredder.
Bouncing Back From Medical Identity Theft
- If you are a victim, here are several steps to take immediately. Keep a detailed record of your conversations and copies of your correspondences.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
- File a report with your local police.
- Send copies of the reports to your health care fraud department, health care provider(s) and one of the three credit reporting agencies (they will automatically notify the other two on your behalf).
- Exercise your right under HIPAA to correct errors in your medical and billing records.
2033 San Elijo Avenue, #402
Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007
- Center on Medical Record Rights and Privacy
Health Policy Institute
P.O. Box 57144
Washington, DC 20057-1485
The following are the telephone numbers and contact information for the fraud departments of the three national credit bureaus:
Equifax - www.equifax.com
To order your report, call: 800-685-1111 or write:
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
To report fraud, call: 800-525-6285 and write:
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Hearing impaired call 1-800-255-0056 and ask the operator to call the Auto Disclosure Line at 1-800-685-1111 to request a copy of your report.
Experian - www.experian.com
To order your report, call: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) or write:
P.O. Box 2002, Allen TX 75013
To report fraud, call: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) and write:
P.O. Box 9530, Allen TX 75013
Trans Union - www.transunion.com
To order your report, call: 800-888-4213 or write:
P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022
To report fraud, call: 800-680-7289 and write:
Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634
- You may request a free copy of your credit report. Credit bureaus must provide a free copy of your report, if you have reason to believe the report is inaccurate because of fraud and you submit a request in writing.
- Review your report to make sure no additional fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name, or unauthorized changes made to your existing accounts. Also, check the section of your report that lists “inquiries” and request that any inquiries from companies that opened the fraudulent accounts be removed.
- Contact any credit union or other creditor including utilities where you have an account that you think may be the subject of identity theft. Advise them of the identity theft. Request that they restrict access to your account, change your account password, or close your account, if there is evidence that your account has been the target of criminal activity. If your credit union closes your account, ask them to issue you a new credit card, ATM card, debit card, or share drafts, as appropriate.
- File a report with your local police department.Filing a report with your local police and keeping a copy yourself will make it easier to prove your case to creditors and merchants and may help you build a lawsuit if you have to sue to recover losses or clear your name later. In some states, you may have to report the incident in the jurisdiction where the fraud occurred, such as the location of the store where the thief charged merchandise to your account, even if that is not where you live.
your complaint with the FTC. The
FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by
law enforcement agencies for investigations. Filing a complaint
also helps us learn more about identity theft and the problems
victims are having so that we can better assist you. The
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigates interstate and
internet fraud (877-ID-THEFT; TDD, 202-326-2502). Download
a copy of an ID theft affidavit from the FTC’s website
at www.consumer.gov/idtheft to help you notify merchants, financial institutions and
credit bureaus. For fraud involving stolen mail, also file
a complaint with the postal officials at https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/ .
For more in-depth information on recovering from identity theft and help with specific problems, read Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft .
REMEMBER: FTC’s ID Theft site is your #1 source for guidance and assistance!