As a savvy consumer you can take steps to protect your finances.
Medical identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal or financial information to get medical care, health insurance coverage, or a prescription. When this happens, someone else’s medical history can become mixed up with yours and lead to all kinds of trouble! Illinois Extension helps you navigate the dangers. Learn the warning signs and savvy tips to help you identify medical identity theft threats. Put a quick stop to medical identity theft. Read more in this Extension tip sheet.
Medical identity theft can happen to you.
Medical identity theft may happen in two ways: stolen information and freely given information. Both are illegal. If someone steals a purse and uses that ID to get a prescription, that is stolen information. Misuse of freely given information can happen when a family member uses personal information, such as sharing health insurance identification.
Prevention is your best way to avoid medical identity theft.
- Do not share your medical ID information with others.
- Get copies of medical records and explanation of benefits for bills and insurance claims and check them thoroughly.
- If something feels fishy, do not be afraid to ask questions to avoid being the victim of a scam. It may be safer to wait and do some research before providing information over the phone or online.
- Check your credit reports regularly.
Know warning signs of medical identity theft.
- Medical bills for services you did not use.
- Calls from debt collection agencies for unknown medical expenses
- Denial of new credit even though you have had a good credit history.
- Abrupt loss of health coverage due to fraud.
Report suspicious, fraudulent activities related to your medical identity.
- Contact your medical providers and insurance companies to clean up your medical records.
- Report identity theft to the FTC’s Identity Theft website or call 1-877-438-4338.
- Consider contacting each credit bureau and freezing your credit reports.