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Medical identity theft: You can lose more than money

As if it weren't bad enough that identity theft is the nation's fastest growing crime, medical identity theft is a big part of this new crime wave.

In this form of identity theft, the offender will steal your personal information to line his pockets with bogus claims against your own health insurance policy, or he can fraudulently obtain medical treatment and drugs in your name. This is covered in my latest HND piece.

I point out that the losses here can go beyond financial. The perp could conceivably use up all your coverage. Even worse, his medical records could be mixed in with yours, leading to dangerously inappropriate treatments.

Of course, the perp can also be an insider at a health care provider, who steals large amounts of personal data—to submit false claims to Medicare.

I list some tips on how to make yourself a less likely target, garnered from identity theft expert Denis Kelly and the Federal Trade Commission. Kelly also has some choice thoughts on how HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) applies to this problem.

Read the complete article.


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