Attorney General: Medical ID theft growing threat

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The Indiana Attorney General is warning of medical identity theft, now a greater concern than financial identity theft, he said.

According to Attorney General Greg Zoeller, the recent hack on locally based Medical Informatics Engineering, or MIE, is the biggest in Indiana history. 1.5 million hoosiers and 3.9 people nationwide were impacted. However, he said it’s part of a growing trend.

Medical theft is when someone uses a patient’s health insurance or plan information to get medical treatment.

A recent study by the Ponemon Institute revealed that medical identity theft has nearly doubled in recent years, from 1.4 million victims in 2010 to more than 2.3 million last year.

That’s why Zoeller said it’s necessary to look over your explanation of benefits forms that come in the mail after any procedure instead, not just throwing it away.

“They may know about the procedures or service you received so it’s sensitive. People need to make sure they are paying the right person and be careful that the scam artists don’t take your money,” said Zoeller.

Zoeller said to be weary of phone calls or emails wanting information or money; it may not actually be from your doctor’s office.

Not only is money at stake, but having false information and procedures on your medical record can also cause incorrect diagnoses.

If you think your medical information has been compromised, get copies of your records from health providers and write to your health provider to correct mistakes, notify your insurance provider and all three credit agencies. Click on this link to file a complaint or call 800-382-5516. The attorney general recommends everyone taking advantage of the website, for protection.

Below is a list of more prevention tips from the attorney general’s office.

Medical ID theft prevention

  • Closely monitor health insurance statements and bills for unusual activity.
  • Don’t provide medical information to someone who calls or emails about a recent breach. Only provide information if you initiate contact.
  • Protect health insurance card as carefully as you would your Social Security card.
  • Use strong passwords and change them frequently for your online health accounts.
  • Safely store paper health records and shred unneeded documents.
  • Be careful who you give your health information to and be wary of unsolicited offers for free medical services.

Financial ID theft prevention

  • Freeze your credit with three credit agencies to prevent new lines of credit being opened in your name.
  • Consider placing fraud alerts on your credit reports.
  • Take advantage of free two-year credit monitoring being offered by MIE or other breached entities.
  • Review and monitor your credit report. A free credit report can be requested from each of the credit bureaus once a year through Annual Credit Report.

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