How To Watch Out For Medical Loan Fraud
Identity theft is a serious threat to your privacy and the safety of your personal information - and your medical details may be the most vulnerable of all.
Hackers and fraudsters may succeed in compromising your data privacy and gaining access to your medical information without your knowledge - and the first time you’ll hear about it is when you receive a bill for treatment you didn’t receive. This could be bad news for your credit score and personal finances.
Dealing with legal medical loan lenders and keeping your healthcare information safe are essential precautions. In this article, we’ll show you how to keep fraudsters at bay.
What Is Medical Fraud And Identity Theft?
Your Personal Identifying Information (PII) includes details such as your name, address, Social Security number, and medical records.
Many people underestimate the risk of medical identity theft. Yet, this type of fraud is 72% more likely to affect you than the loss of your financial information. In fact, data breaches in the healthcare sector account for a quarter of all such crimes.
- Should your medical information fall into the wrong hands, you may be liable for medical expenses that have nothing to do with you.
- If someone uses your medical data and has treatment, your medical records could end up containing information pertaining to others. This could affect the ability of emergency medical staff to treat you effectively if the fraudster’s blood type or medical allergies appear on your record.
To avoid becoming the victim of this increasingly common crime, you’ll need to take several steps to protect your PII.
One of the scary things about identity theft is that weeks or months can go by without you knowing that it has even occurred.
The earlier you know you’ve been a victim of fraud, the sooner you can take action to protect your finances, defend your credit score, and inform the relevant authorities.
- Read your medical statements. Whenever you receive a bill or notice from a healthcare provider or insurer, you’ll want to open it immediately and ensure that you received the treatment it references.
- If you receive a bill for medical services you didn’t receive - especially if you’ve been contacted by a medical debt collector - you’ll need to take immediate action to prevent financial losses.
How To Avoid It
You don’t need to wait for a suspicious bill or phone call before taking action to secure your personal medical information.
The following steps will help keep your data secure and also help you resolve fraudulent activity related to your medical accounts.
- Obtain A Copy Of Your Medical Records: While you’re entitled to this information, there’s no single source that can provide you with it. You’ll need to contact each individual doctor, hospital, clinic, and healthcare provider that may have been involved.
- Ask For An Accounting Of Disclosures: Your health insurer can provide you with a detailed list of all healthcare providers that requested your medical information over a given period. This will help you identify medical institutions that may have treated the fraudster who obtained your information.
- Inform Your Health Insurance & All Three Credit Bureaus: You may need to freeze your credit profile or set up a fraud alert until the issue is resolved.
- Be Persistent: If the healthcare providers' representatives are unwilling to provide the associated medical records, you’ll need to speak with a patient representative and request your records in writing. As a final resort, you can contact the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights.
How To Make Sure You Don't Have Other Identity Theft Issues
Unfortunately, the damage may not be limited to your medical records. Once your personal information has been compromised, they may try to use your identifying information to apply for credit or carry out other fraudulent acts.
- Check your credit score regularly. You may want to sign up for a credit monitoring service that will alert you about any sudden changes in your FICO score.
- If you become a victim of fraud, it’s always a good idea to freeze your credit as a precaution. You can reverse this action later.
Protecting your medical information from fraud and data breaches could save you thousands of dollars and hours spent worrying about your credit score and financial situation. If you receive an unusual bill for medical treatment you didn’t undergo, you’ll want to follow the steps outlined above without delay.
Prevention is always better than cure - and monitoring your medical records as well as your credit score will help you stay one step ahead of any potential fraudsters. If you’re especially concerned about this type of crime you may want to sign up for a comprehensive identity protection service.
Members of the armed forces on active tours of duty may qualify for free credit monitoring while they’re out of the country.
Overall, the best strategy is to be vigilant about suspicious activities on your medical and credit records. This will help you detect any instances of fraud early and deal with them effectively.