The Repercussions of Soaring Medical Identity Theft

Medical identity theft is one of the most costly and dangerous types of fraud. In their Fifth Annual Study on Medical Identity Theft, The Ponemon Institute stated that medical id theft had soared a whopping 22 percent in 2014. Ponemon estimates more than 2.3 million adult Americans had their medical identities stolen during or before 2014.

Once an individual becomes a victim of medical identity theft it can be very difficult to correct medical records and dispute fraudulent bills. Criminals only need to gather a small amount of information — like names, birth dates, Social Security numbers or the ID numbers found on insurance cards — to effectively assume a person’s identity. They are then able to visit numerous hospitals, emergency rooms and pharmacies to receive care and prescriptions, racking up exorbitant charges.

Medical care the thief receives automatically gets added to the victim’s health record, and may not be noticed for months or years. According to Ponemon the average victim didn’t find out about the theft for around three months after the fact, while 30 percent of victims could not say when the crime had occurred at all….

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