How Does IDStrong's Medical ID Theft Monitoring Work?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that medical identity theft rises roughly 200% each year. Medical ID theft is becoming a major problem for Americans. It happens when Identity thieves steal your personal information such as your name and health insurance number or Medicare card to get prescriptions, receive medical devices or treatments, get surgery, submit fraudulent claims, or obtain other benefits in your name.
IDStrong’s medical ID monitoring can help protect you from the damage of medical ID theft by monitoring your medical records number, ID number, health insurance card data, and other sensitive personal information. We send you notifications and alerts when we find that your breached or leaked information shows up online. Keeping a close eye on all your personal health information (PHI) helps you prevent fallout due to identity theft.
The Risks of Medical ID Theft
The risks of medical identity theft are tremendous. Not only does it disrupt medical care, but it also results in substantial financial losses for both the insured and the insurer. The average cost of fixing the damage after medical identity theft is $13,500. Some of the other dangers of medical ID theft include:
- Medical Care - If someone steals your medical insurance card or alters your medical records, you could receive life-threatening medical care. For example, if the identity thief removes an allergy notice, you could receive medications that put your life at risk, experience treatment delays, or incorrect diagnosis.
- Exposure - If your medical records are exposed online in a data breach or other incident, any illness or treatment could be exposed to employers, friends, family, etc. Medical ID theft is an invasion of privacy and could expose sensitive information you want kept private.
- Criminal Charges - When an identity thief uses your personal medical information to commit crimes, law enforcement may pursue you and charge you with the crimes.
- Ruined Credit - Identity theft and specifically medical ID fraud can also result in the ruination of your credit profile. Thieves can charge a lot of debt quickly, and it is often difficult to repair the damage. You may be responsible for medical bills that are not yours.
- Insurance Fraud - Another cost to consumers is when identity thieves make fraudulent insurance claims, the expense of medical care increases, costing everyone more for the same healthcare.
- Financial Fraud - Not only could identity thieves benefit from medical treatment using your insurance plan, but you may also be left with a mountain of debt and medical bills you cannot pay. In addition, cybercriminals could trick you into other types of financial fraud using your medical ID data.
These and other threats are very real and immediate. With so many data breaches, especially within healthcare organizations, medical data is leaked on the dark web all the time. You need our medical identity theft protection and keep an eye on all your personal records.
How Can Medical ID Theft Monitoring Help Me?
Last year alone, billions of Americans’ healthcare records were breached. For example, the Accellion FTA Hack exposed 3.51 million records from 100 companies, 11 of them were healthcare providers. Other notable breaches were:
- Florida Healthy Kids Corporation (3.5 million records).
- 20/20 Eye Care Network, Inc (3,253,822 records).
- NEC Networks, LLC dba CaptureRx (2.42 million records).
- Forefront Dermatology, SC (2,413,553 records)., SC (2,413,553 records).
- Eskenazi Health (1,515,918 records).
Once your information is exposed online, identity thieves can use it to file fraudulent claims, get services, buy expensive prescriptions, and more, all billed to your healthcare account. These are not isolated incidents; it’s a widespread problem you need to protect yourself against.
With so many dangers associated with medical ID fraud and theft, you cannot be too careful. Our service monitors your medical records number, ID number, health insurance card, and details to watch for any exposure online. When we find your medical information where it shouldn’t be, we alert you so you can take quick action to fix the problem.
How IDStrong Works
We will continuously monitor your personal and financial information for any potential threats on the dark web and beyond
We will instantly notify you if we detect that your information is leaked, exposed, or breached
Our identity protection experts are available 24/7 to help you take the necessary actions to restore your identity
We monitor billions of records on the dark web and alert you if we detect that your information is exposed or traded
We monitor your credit profile for any suspicious inquiries, new loans, or any credit related changes
We monitor your property and alert you if we detect that there has been a change of address or ownership
$1M Identity Theft Insurance
If you fall victim to ID theft, we will provide you with up to $1 million in coverage with a no deductible for identity theft recovery expenses
Lost Wallet Assistance
If your wallet is lost or stolen, we will provide you with quick and reliable help in navigating the recovery process. We will walk you through the entire process every step of the way
If you experience identity theft, our fraud resolution team will deliver step-by-step support to investigate and restore your identity
Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Identity Theft Protection
What Are the Consequences of Medical Identity Theft?
A stolen medical identity could have serious consequences such as:
- Physical health threat. If someone uses your medical ID, they could contaminate your medical records, leading to you receiving the wrong treatment, diagnosis, being prescribed the wrong pharmaceutical, delays in receiving crucial care, or other errors that could worsen existing conditions or even cause death.
- Damaged reputation.45% percent of Americans say medical identity theft harmed their reputation mainly because of the embarrassment linked to the disclosure of certain medical conditions.
- Missing an employment opportunity. If someone applies for a job yet has certain diseases or conditions erroneously listed in their health records, they might fail the screening process. Also, 19% of patients believe that their stolen medical identity blocked their access to some career opportunities, while 3% lost their jobs because of it.
- Financial losses/medical debt. Unlike financial institutions that refund victims of fraud, 36% of medical identity theft victims pay money out of their pocket to fix the issues. As a result, targeted patients could collectively pay as much as $12 billion to solve their cases in a year.
- Ruined credit. If crooks used your insurance to amass bills under your name, expect to be stuck with higher interest rates, have debt collectors on your back, receive notifications for unpaid bills, and be denied new credit cards, mortgages, loans, or jobs.
- Damaged insurance. Patients could lose all their medical insurance benefits, health, and life insurance coverage.
- Invasion of privacy. Similar to other types of identity theft, once your medical history is no longer confidential and virtually anybody can access information that you would like to keep private or buy it from hackers, your right to privacy has been breached.
How Common Is Medical Identity Theft?
More than 50% of Americans have had their identity stolen at some point or know someone who has been a victim of identity theft, with statistics on medical identity fraud showing the following:
- The largest healthcare data leak in 2021 affected 3.5 million people.
- Financial data is 20–50 times less valuable than stolen medical data.
- One-fifth of those who fall victim to medical identity fraud receive improper diagnosis and care.
- Medical information may be purchased for $250 each on the Dark Web.
- Data taken from medical IDs can be 20 to 50 times more valuable than data stolen from credit cards or social security numbers, according to statistics on medical identity theft.
- According to data, the average loss from medical identity theft is $13,500, which includes paying out erroneous medical bills.
- 45 million Americans were impacted by healthcare data breaches in 2021.
- The yearly economic cost of medical identity theft is estimated to be $41 billion.
- More than half of the incidents of medical identity theft were caused by internal employees instead of outside hackers.
What’s the Difference between Identity Theft and Medical Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when a fraudster uses another person’s personally identifiable information (PII), such as their name, date of birth, driver’s license number, social security number, credit card number, bank account, or passwords, without their authorization, to commit crimes. On the other hand, medical identity theft is a form of identity fraud that occurs when perpetrators use a patient’s name, social security number, health insurance number, and other PII data to purchase medical products, prescription drugs, or receive medical services or procedures on your health plan. The culprits, in this case, are usually “insiders” who work at healthcare facilities and can easily access patient information. They use the info themselves or sell it to organized medical identity theft gangs.
What to Do if You Think You’re a Victim of Medical Identity Theft?
If you suspect you’ve been a victim of medical identity theft, you can immediately take a number of steps:
- Report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-438-4338 or online at IdentityTheft.gov. They will release an identity theft report with a recovery plan.
- To file Medicare-related complaints, contact the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General at 800-447-8477 or online.
- Even if only 40% of medical identity theft victims report it to law enforcement, it’s better to file a police report for your peace of mind.
- Contact your insurance provider and start gathering evidence. Get an “accounting of disclosures” (you’re entitled to request one per year) that shows who received your medical files from your healthcare provider.
- Request copies of your medical plan and medical files and ask medical providers to fix inaccuracies if needed.
- Consider adding a fraud alert to your credit reports and freezing your credit.
- Subscribe to medical ID monitoring services for your identity and credit reports so you can be notified when someone steals your identity and attempts to misuse your data.
Can Someone Else Use My Medical Insurance?
Each health insurance plan is strictly associated with a person and their social security number, and it’s illegal to use another person’s insurance plan. However, if you lose your insurance card or if hackers or identity thieves intercept your personal data, they could take advantage of your medical plan to get treatment drugs and file health claims with your insurer, in your name, without your knowledge. In this case, the perpetrator’s medical data will compromise your medical records, treatments, insurance, and payment records.
Why are Medical Identities So Valuable?
Medical information is at least ten times more valuable than any other identifying data because:
- It contains more sensitive information than financial records, giving criminals more possibilities to commit fraud.
- Many patients don’t pay attention to their medical records; therefore, it takes longer to identify fraud.
- Crooks make 10 to 50 times more profit by selling or using medical identities rather than financial identities.
Who Commits Medical Identity Theft?
Medical identity thieves usually fall under five categories:
- Hackers: They practice social engineering scams to fraudulently get social security numbers and health insurance information from unsuspecting paying patients and medical providers.
- Healthcare employees: Nurses, doctors, and lab technicians at medical facilities know how the system works and often want to make a quick profit.
- Family: Twenty-four percent of consumers claim that a family member used their medical credentials without their permission.
- Organized crime rings: Perpetrators form entire networks. They buy stolen patient information from the black markets, then set up a system of fake clinics and start making fraudulent claims against honest patients’ insurance plans.
How Can Identity Monitoring Help against Medical Theft?
Besides offering identity and credit monitoring, IDStrong helps patients keep their medical identity under surveillance against data thieves. By monitoring a person’s medical insurance number and the medical records number assigned to individuals by hospitals and medical groups, we may be able to help people act against suspicious activities or changes linked to their personal details. Our search engine scours the internet, including the dark web, underground discussion forums, and black markets. When our search tools identify compromised data, we send you an alert notifying you of the data leak. Therefore, we’re enabling potential victims to take action sooner rather than later, which could minimize possible losses and could even help them prevent medical ID theft from happening.
Finding someone’s data exposed online doesn’t necessarily mean it’s already been used or bought by criminals; therefore, intercepting it on time could make a significant difference in preventing stolen medical identities from being an accessory to a crime.
What Other Types of Health Insurance Fraud Exist Besides Medical Identity Theft?
Health insurance fraud can take place at any point during the medical insurance process, starting with purchasing coverage and ending with receiving care. Therefore, apart from medical identity theft, we have the following types of fraud:
- Medicare fraud (covered by the government instead of private health insurance companies) – scammers slip fake claims past Medicare overseers.
- Community mental health fraud – therapists bill patients and insurance companies for fictive, incomplete, or pointless services.
- Supply coverage and medical equipment/devices fraud – insurance businesses forge medical equipment claims, particularly for senior citizens. They issue false claims, overcharge them, or intentionally deliver (and bill) more than is needed.
- Ambulance fraud - ambulance service providers overcharge patients, sometimes even for services that weren't offered.
- “Too-good-to-be-true” offers, discounts, and marketing scams - discount cards and plans that are sold by deceitful insurance agents as low-cost insurance policies but actually won’t cover medical claims.
How to Reduce the Threat of Medical Identity Theft?
Having a proactive approach to preventing identity theft makes a huge difference. Patients could stay safe from becoming victims of medical identity theft by adopting some simple cautionary steps such as:
- Frequently check medical records and have any errors corrected immediately.
- Monitor when and where you’re asked to share health information online, in person, or over the phone.
- Always read the privacy policies when buying medical coverage to know for sure where and when your information is shared.
- When filling out medical forms online, always use secure “HTTPS” websites and stay away from “HTTP” URLs.
- Keep both digital and paper copies of medical files and insurance records safe.
- Remove labels from prescription bottles and shred printed documents (healthcare statements, medical bills) that contain confidential data before throwing them away.
- Engage specialized monitoring services that cover your medical identity, such as medical records number and medical insurance number.
- Search for health organizations that abide by the “Red Flags Rule,” which makes it compulsory for businesses and healthcare providers to have a written identity theft prevention program targeted at discovering the “red flags” of id theft as part of their daily processes and taking steps to mitigate risk and minimize damages as early as possible.