The rising crime of Medical Identity Theft
Medical Identity Theft is a growing trend among cyber criminals that is quickly becoming the biggest target among identity thieves. Whether there was a lack of use of data encryption technology, insider breaches or unauthorized access and hacking of health care provider technology, the theft of medical information is steadily on the rise. Unfortunately this trend affects anyone with health insurance or a medical device and could cause irreparable damage to the victim’s health, wealth and life.
If Medical Identity Thieves gain access to your health insurance I.D. number, they can obtain other confidential information, such as your social security number and home address. Not only can they use your personal information to submit fraudulent claims, but they may sell your identity online via the dark net. In a study by the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance, the average cost of Medical Identity theft to 65% of the victims (in the study) was an average of $13,500 to resolve the crime.
While the financial burden can be burdensome, the risk to one’s health can be life threatening. For example, if your blood type and allergies to medicine are altered to fit a Medial identity thieves medical records, your next visit to the hospital can turn into your last visit anywhere. Even more alarming is the time it may take your medical provider to alert you of the potential breach.
In the same study by the MIFA (Medical Identity Fraud Alliance)
- Victims learn about the theft of their credentials more than three months following the crime.
- Of those victims, 30% do not know when they became a victim.
- 54% of those respondents found an error in their Explanation of Benefits
- About half did not know whom to report the crime to.
Why is this happening?
Medical databases are extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks, causing major databreaches throughout healthcare organizations around the world. The healthcare industry is still behind in investing resources into solidifying IT and cyber security, compared to other high-risk industries, like finance & banking. This puts a target on the industry as a whole for cyber criminals. Your medical information may also be subject to theft by employees at medical facilities, who are looking to make an easy paycheck, by selling your information on the black market.
How to Protect Your Medical Records
While it may seem like a tedious task to manage your medical records, it is vital to understand that this is a doorway for Identity theft that is easily opened by hackers. Protect all insurance cards and other medical credentials from family and friends. A quarter of all Medical Identity theft victims knowingly gave their information to a family member or friend. Monitor monthly healthcare statements for insurance claims that look suspicious. If you see a claim or an unauthorized visit to the doctor or pharmacy, immediately contact your insurance provider, the doctor/healthcare facility and alert local law enforcement.
If you think you may have fallen victim to Medical Identity Theft, Contact Alpha Group Investigations, immediately. Our highly trained team of investigators are experts in the field and Certified Identity Theft Investigators. Our headquarters are located in New York, New Jersey and Florida, however, we have teams of investigators throughout the US and affiliate offices worldwide.