Medical identity theft is a fast-growing type of identity theft with devastating consequences. In this blog post, I will share a real-life case of medical identity theft and detail the most common types of medical identity theft.
Here at LibertyID, our restoration specialists are on the phone every day helping identity theft victims recover their identity and fix the damage identity thieves leave behind. One recent victim we helped was a victim of medical identity theft. She worked as a nurse at a hospital emergency department and one day she was called into the HR department because someone who was admitted as a patient to the same hospital where she worked had used her personal information, including her health insurance, to receive $52,000 in medical services. Suzanne Ford, LibertyID’s lead restoration specialist, worked on the case and pushed to get a detective involved. The detective was able to get a videotape of the suspect coming and going to the hospital and eventually the identity thief was identified and arrested.
“They think someone internal — inside the hospital in the admitting department who disliked nurse — provided all the information to this person so the thief could come in and get services,” said Ford, who worked diligently to repair the victim’s identity.
Oftentimes medical identity thieves who don’t have their own insurance coverage steal yours in order to obtain free medical treatment by using your policy. They pretend to be you at a hospital or a clinic and then your insurance company (and you) receive the bills. This is just one glimpse of what medical identity theft can look like. Here are a few more types:
- Insider fraud: Invoicing for fraudulent treatment claims you didn’t receive. Crooks sometimes work within the medical industry and know how the insurance billing systems work. They bill your insurance for fake or inflated claims for services you never received.
- Obtain Prescription Drugs: An identity thief assumes your identity in order to be prescribed prescription medications — restricted or otherwise — and then use your health insurance to purchase the meds. As this Consumer Reports article details, one woman had her purse stolen out of her car and months later got a call from a bail bondsman to inform her “she was about to be arrested for acquiring more than 1,700 prescription opioid painkiller pills through area pharmacies,” according to the story. Thankfully the woman had filed a police report after her purse was stolen, so the judge dismissed the charges – though she still had to go through the trauma of being arrested. It took seven years to clear her name fully.
- Obtain Medical Equipment: An identity thief could obtain expensive medical equipment using your insurance benefits, and then turn around and sell the equipment on the black market.
- Fraudulently Get Government Healthcare: Your identity could be stolen and used to get government health benefits like Medicare or Medicaid.
Visit our blog post for signs of Medical Identity Theft. And visit this blog post to learn about “Six Things You Can Do to Help Protect Against Medical Identity Theft.”
According to recent statistics, the average identity theft victim spends upwards of 200 hours repairing the damage. That’s where LibertyID can help. Our members save themselves massive amounts of time and stress by having our service to rely on when something does happen. If your identity is stolen, we assign you a certified restoration specialist who will clean up the mess, no matter what kind of identity theft you’re facing. LibertyID is the AAA of identity theft protection, offering the most effective identity theft restoration service. If you’re a member and your identity is stolen, we will fix it. We use a limited power of attorney to resolve the fraud and restore your identity to pre-event status. But just like with AAA, you have to be covered before there’s an incident.
Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash