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Tips to avoid medical identify theft

Medical identity theft is a twist on traditional identity theft, which happens when someone steals your personal information. Like traditional identity theft, medical identity theft can affect your finances; but it also can take a toll on your health.  

For example, identity thieves using your personal and health insurance information can obtain medical treatment, prescription drugs, surgery and more. Or dishonest people working in a medical setting can be use your information to submit false bills to insurance companies.  

Medical identity theft can change your medical and health insurance records. Every time a thief uses your identity to get care, a record is created with the imposter’s medical information, which could be mistaken for your medical information – say, a different blood type, an inaccurate history of drug or alcohol abuse, test results that aren’t yours, or a diagnosis of an illness, allergy or condition you don’t have. Any of these could lead to improper treatment, which in turn, could lead to injury, illness or worse.  

How to protect yourself

Below are some tips for minimizing your risk of medical identity theft; for more details, visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Protection website.

How to know if your medical information has been compromised

According to the FTC, you may be a victim of medical identity theft if:

For more information

Contact Bellingham Police Crime Prevention Officer Katrin Dearborn at (360) 778-8660 for more information about preventing crime.

 

Published: Feb 4, 2011

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