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Posted on April 8, 2015 by in Identity & Privacy, Personal

As more and more health systems digitize medical records and put information into cloud-based systems, there’s growing concern about an unintended side effect: medical identity theft.

While these systems can improve efficiency — and reduce the number of medical errors — the number of cyber-attacks on medical databases is on the rise. In 2009, medical cyber-hacks accounted for 20 percent of all attacks; by 2013, that share doubled to 40 percent.

News agency Reuters noted that your medical information is worth 10 times more than your credit card number on the black market. Medical records tend to contain a wealth of data, including social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, insurance information and payment histories. Thieves can either mine that data or sell it to the highest bidder, who can use it for medical identity theft attempts.

Security breaches in healthcare make the problem more pronounced, sometimes exposing millions of records at a time. For example, in August 2014, a cyber-attack on U.S. hospital operator Community Health Systems resulted in the theft of 4.5 million patient records by Chinese hackers.

In our latest article, “Protect Yourself from Medical Identity Theft,” we explain medical identity theft and why it’s dangerous for both your financial future and physical health. In the article, you’ll also learn:

  • How medical identity thieves profit from stealing your identity
  • Why medical identities are so valuable
  • How medical identity theft can go unchecked for a longer period of time than credit or banking breaches
  • Who might be at fault when an identity is stolen (it’s not always hackers)
  • What can happen if you’re a victim, including consequences that could affect your credit, work status and physical health
  • What you can do to protect yourself

Because of the distinctive threats posed by medical identity theft, IdentityForce offers three-fold protection for your medical identity. Subscribers are notified of suspicious activity on their accounts, given an easy way to deal with their insurance companies if an attack occurs, and offered a medical identity theft rider that can provide protection if they find they’re a victim of theft.

Medical identity theft is a serious problem that’s projected to get even worse in the years to come. Understand the risks and what you can do to protect yourself by reading our white paper.