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Apr-24-2008 11:00printcomments

ID Experts' Five Steps to Prevent Medical ID Theft

Protect your medical records, as well as your pocketbook, against identity thieves.

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Image courtesy: U.S. Postal Service

(BEAVERTON, Ore.) - Medical identity theft won't just harm your pocketbook, but could cost you your health. Unlike traditional identity theft, the consequences of medical identity go beyond the financial costs.

They can impact your health due to inaccurate information being documented on medical records, potentially leading to future misdiagnosis and other complications.

Medical identity theft occurs when criminals steal health insurance identification or Social Security Numbers and use them to obtain healthcare services or reimbursement from insurers for fraudulent claims. According to the World Privacy Forum, as many as 250,000 to 500,000 consumers have been victims of medical identity theft as of mid-2006.

"Medical ID theft can be devastating for consumers," commented Doug Pollack, chief marketing officer for identity theft protection company ID Experts. "Checking for medical identity fraud must become a part of everyone's complete identity protection practices -- it's that prevalent."

ID Experts offers the following five steps to protect your healthcare information from being compromised by thieves:

Five Steps to Detecting and Preventing Medical Identity Theft:

1. Eliminate your Social Security number from your insurance records

If your insurance company, such as Medicare/Medicaid, still uses Social Security Numbers as insurance identification, don't carry your card in your wallet unless absolutely necessary. Instead carry a copy of your card (front and back) and black out the last four digits. Write the name/phone number of a personal contact on the card copy that could give the last 4 digits of your SSN to a medical provider in an emergency.

2. Get copies of your medical records, insurance claims and credit reports

Request copies of all records, claims and reports, in writing, to be sent to a secure location such as a locked mailbox or P.O. Box.

3. Review all medical records, claims and reports for unusual entries

Look for services never rendered to you or your dependents, inaccurate diagnoses, address changes, collections, and disclosures made to other agencies or health providers.

4. Dispute any misinformation with your insurance provider, health provider or credit bureaus for investigation and/or removal

Make all disputes in writing and provide copies of any claims that include misinformation.

5. Protect the paper trail

Use your shredder to destroy claims that are more than seven years old.

Ask your insurance provider if you can receive online statements instead of paper.

About ID Experts

ID Experts provides identity theft protection services for individuals, corporations and the public sector. Unlike other identity theft protection service providers that rely solely on credit monitoring, ID Experts takes a uniquely personal approach to identity protection -- whether it's a single individual or family, or up to the largest corporations, government agencies and universities, ID Experts ensures each and every individual receives protection and recovery assistance.

Today, ID Experts protects more than 3 million individuals nationwide from identity theft. These customers benefit from ID Experts' team of experienced identity recovery advocates who have a 100 percent success rate in restoring victims' identities to pre-theft status. For more information visit

Source: ID Experts

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