20th Nov 2017

Almost all the industries today have integrated online systems into their operations making large amount of personal information being stored in digital form. This has exposed more and more people to identity related frauds.
Medical Identity Theft is the most recent form of identity theft where a person uses somebody else’s medical information without their knowledge. The stolen information such as name, social security number etc. are used to pay for medical treatments as well as for purchasing medical equipment. Fictitious medical records and bills are often submitted to the insurance companies asking for claims. This affects the financial and medical status of a person whose personal information and credentials are stolen.

Who Are Responsible –

  • Hackers – While cyber security professionals are making efforts to avoid cybercrimes yet internet based crimes are taking a toll each day. Hackers illegally steal the medical information and give it to people who masquerade their identity to avail medical facilities and insurance claims.
  • Others – This category may include the hospital staff or fraudulent healthcare providers who steal and sell your medical information to other people who in turn file for false insurance claims. Sometimes, even friends or other family members use it for their advantage.

How To Detect –

  • This theft can be identified by regularly checking your medical bills and transactions. Immediately report the hospital or medical center when you find any suspicious activity that may lead to such an identity theft.
  • If the insurance company denies your claim even when you haven’t used their services for a long time, there are chances that your medical and personal information has been compromised. Sometimes, an insurance claim is accepted by the insurance provider for a medical condition that you have not been diagnosed with. This is the point when you must recheck your records and notify the service provider.

Theft Prevention Tips –

  • Ensure Information Security – The more information you share, the more you are prone to such identity threats. So, try to share as little information as possible to avoid its misuse.
  • Monitoring Medical Records – Do check all your medical records regularly. This will help you to notice any suspicious activity and take a corrective action immediately.
  • Password Protection – Set up unique passwords and credentials for your online accounts to avoid hacking.
  • Phishing Emails – A user sometimes, clicks a phishing email that has legitimate appearance. A malware is then installed in the system that hacks all the important files and information. Try to spot and ignore such emails.
  • Storing The Information – To prevent any internet based crime, it is important to correctly store the records containing sensitive information. Along with storage, it is imperative to dispose them off safely when they become outdated or irrelevant.
  • Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi –Browsing websites through public networks increase the risk for information and identity thefts. Make sure that you do not access sites that require sensitive information on public Wi-Fi.

Hospitals and medical facilities should also have foolproof systems to store patient’s information. It is important for medical institutions to install, and upgrade to latest software and hardware to prevent misuse of patient’s data. Proper protocols and accesses should be implemented in order to keep a track on people accessing patient’s information.

For IT infrastructure and security solutions for medical establishments, contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.