Monday, March 29, 2010
Criminals have devised a way to have expensive medical procedures billed to you. They set up fake clinics to bill for phony treatments. Thieves may also impersonate a patient, and there are some medical workers willing to download your records to sell.
Pam Dixon, founder of the World Privacy Forum, a non-profit consumer-research group based in San Diego, CA believes the rise of digital records is a large factor in the rise of medical information theft, "Once the files are in electronic form, the crime scales up quickly."
Patients medical records can be altered to reflect diseases and treatments they never had. The thief may change the patients address so they will not be aware of the charges and changes to their medical history.
Medical Identity Theft is about 2.5 times more costly than other types of ID frauds, said James Van Dyke, Javelin president - because the medical data can be used for a much longer period of time before the criminal is caught.
The average fraud involving health information as $12,000 compared with $,841 for general identity theft.