Experts say that medical identify theft is a growing concern in the United States.
Pam Dixon with the World Privacy Forum says that false information could wind up in a patient’s medical file so that fraudsters can get access to medicine or money.
“All of a sudden, you have been given cancer in your medical record – and you don’t have cancer. Or you may be given Hepatitis C in your health care records, because it’s a very expensive drug and the fraudsters are trying to get that drug,” Dixon says.
Figures from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau show that the tristate area is a medical theft hotspot.
New Jersey residents filed 94 medical identify theft complaints in 2017, the fifth most in the country. New York was tied for sixth with 93 complaints, and Connecticut ranked 15th with 29 medical identity theft complaints.
Experts say that there are a few ways to protect yourself from medical identity theft.
Patients should watch their credit reports to look for any debts or addresses that do not match theirs. Benefit explanations from the patient’s health insurance company should also be monitored – calls should be made right away if the patient is charged for services that they did not receive.
Any patient who believes that they have experienced medical identity theft should file a police report.
Dixon says that anyone who is concerned should ask their doctor for copies of their medical files in order to make sure that everything in the file is correct.