Avoiding Medical Identity Theft

Avoid Medical Identity Theft

You do not have to bring your driver's license with you to vote in this year's election, but more often than not you do have to show your driver's license when you go to the doctor's office.

Seems crazy, but it's the easiest way to make sure you are in fact...you!

Check out these Medical identity theft numbers. Nearly 2.5 million cases were identified in 2014 — an increase of 20% over the year before.

Consumer Reports talked to a woman who was arrested because of what a thief did with her medical ID information.

Deborah Ford had a totally clean record. But after a thief stole her purse and used her insurance card to get prescription after prescription for opioid drugs, a warrant was issued for her arrest.

"At the time, I was like a 59-year-old lady, never been arrested, and all of a sudden all these charges on me."

Medical identity theft can lead to problems you never even dreamed of.

"If a thief gets your medical identity, he or she can use it to get expensive surgeries, medical goods like wheelchairs and cleaning up the bills and the charges can take years and really negatively effect your credit score."

According to the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance, once your medical record gets mixed with a criminal's, you can get the wrong diagnosis or the wrong treatment.

"One of the best ways to protect yourself is to ensure you always have copies of your medical records. That way, if a thief adulterates them, you can prove they've been altered."

Also, check your medical records at least once a year to make sure they are accurate. Read each benefit notice from your insurance company and call immediately if you see anything fishy. And if you lose your health insurance card, ask for a new ID number and a new card.

Deborah Ford finally got her name cleared, but it took five years and 15-hundred dollars in legal fees.

(© 2016 WFMY)


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