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Posted on June 17, 2014 by in Identity & Privacy, Personal

When most people think about identity theft, they don’t often worry about their medical records. Unfortunately, medical identity theft––stealing someone’s social security number, health insurance number, and name to receive medical services––accounted for 43% of all identity theft in 2013. Keep reading to learn more about this growing threat, and how you can stay safe.

How Do I Know if I’m a Victim of Medical Identity Theft?

Too often, the first signs of medical identity theft occur after the crime has been committed. Be on the lookout for:

  • Suspicious charges: You’re billed by a doctor or hospital you’ve never visited or for procedure you haven’t had done.
  • Benefits limit: Your insurance company notifies you that you have reached or exceeded your benefits limit.
  • Insurance denial: If your insurance is denied because of a condition you don’t have, someone may have received treatment under your identity.

Protect Yourself

Sometimes identity theft is out of your control, but you can take these steps to limit the possibility:

  • Be careful about sharing your sensitive personal information: Only give your information out when it’s necessary, such as setting up billing at your doctor’s office.
  • Be on the lookout for scams: Never give out your information if someone calls or emails you. Only give the information when you contact them. Also, watch for in-person scams of people taking “health surveys” that need your health insurance numbers.
  • Monitor your medical records: Incorrect information not only flags evidence of identity theft, but also has implications for your treatment.

Look For Medical Organizations That Follow the “Red Flags Rule”

Many organizations are required to follow the Red Flags Rule and have a written identity theft prevention plan. This program should have a list of what constitutes a red flag, plans for identifying red flags, an action plan for when a red flag is detected, and plans to stay current with technology.

If you think your personal identity has been compromised, contact the FTC immediately. Approximately 21% of victims don’t realize their identity has been compromised until more than two years after it’s happened. This gives thieves plenty of time to seek multiple treatments under their victim’s name.

IdentityForce is one of the few identity theft protection companies that offers medical identity theft protection. Protect your identity today by signing up for IdentityForce UltraSecure or UltraSecure+Credit.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Morgan.