You may be well informed about identity theft as you use your credit card. Nevertheless, you might not be aware that there’s a new fraud game, known as medical identity theft. This means that hackers are stealing people’s private information to make claims counter to their health policies. Then having filed fraudulent claims, they get the cash and, in several cases, they may even get free medical services.
All the bad people have to do is access some of your personal details, such as your Social Security number, and the remaining part is easy. What is even more terrifying is that they can attain this data on the black market from the same staff that works at medical facilities (insider fraud). Certain employees also hack into health databases.
Frauds to watch out for
There are typical scams these offenders like to pull:
Charging for fraudulent treatment: Once the thieves get access to your data, they bill your health plan for fake treatment. The people who you rely on to help you, such as doctors, might even be working with fraudsters.
Buying up drugs: This type of thieves might use your information to purchase illegal medications. They may later sell these medications or use them for their cravings.
Getting free treatment: Medical ID thieves might use your data to get free treatment because they lack their policies.
Cost of Medical ID Theft
These frauds can factually cost you thousands of dollars:
False records: This could have extremely dangerous or even deadly consequences. The treatments can appear in your medical files, and, the medical personnel relies on this material to prescribe medications and to give treatments.
Loss of health coverage: You could lose your health coverage due to these swindles. These people can max out your limits so that you could be in big trouble when you truly have a medical emergency.
High premiums: Also, your premiums could rise due to these frauds.
Ruin credit history: These lawbreakers usually build up large bills at hospitals in your name, and then vanish without a trace. This, of course, eventually gets calculated, and you might not even be aware until creditors start calling you.
Ways to Fight Back
There are some things to be done to fight against these scams:
Look closely at EOBs: Always check your Explanation of Benefits (EOB), your EOB, which you get from your health insurance company. If you see treatments that you didn’t get on them, instantly inform your insurer.
Get a list of benefits: Every year, ask your insurer for a list of all benefits paid out via your policy.
Check medical records: Check your medical records for anything suspicious If you think you might be a victim of medical identity theft.
Protect your credit: Review your credit history with the three major credit monitoring agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. If you spot anything strange, immediately ask for a credit freeze and a fraud alert on your credit report. With a fraud alert, creditors may contact you to confirm your identity anytime they get a request for a new line of credit.
Correct any inaccuracies: If there are mistakes on your medical files, immediately get them corrected. Moreover, remember that any medical provider might have the same information, so contact every hospital, doctor, lab, and the insurance company you use to make sure their information is correct, too. Keep in mind that correcting this information might be difficult.
File a report with the police: You should inform the police if you feel that you are a medical identity theft victim.
File a report with the government: You should also file a complaint about the event with the FTC. You can do this on the FTC website or by calling 1-877-438-4338