Medical Identity Theft Is On The Rise

What You Need to Know To Protect Yourself From Medical Identity Theft

Most of us think of credit cards and car loans when we think about identity theft. The sad thing is, medical identity theft is becoming just as common. With today's health care crisis more and more people are turning to identity theft to meet their medical needs. Here's how to protect yourself from becoming one of the identities stolen.

How It Happens

Someone breaks an arm, but has no insurance and no way to pay. They go to the ER and give a name and address -- but the name and address given isn't their own. It's yours. You start getting bills and calls from collection agencies. What do you do?

You're Not Liable

First and foremost, understand that you've been the victim of identity theft and as such, you are not responsible for those medical bills. If the hospital didn't take the time to verify the identity of their patient, that is not your fault. However, the financial issue should be your last concern.

Check Your Medical Records

When someone steals your medical identity, their medical records get mixed with yours. If the person who used your information had a medical condition that you don't have, you might receive treatment that could kill you if you're admitted to the hospital. Because of this, you need to make sure your medical records are accurate and don't contain someone else's information.

Hire a Lawyer

If you do become the victim of medical identity theft, I suggest hiring a lawyer. He or she can deal with the hospital, making sure you don't pay any bills you're not obligated for and checking the accuracy of your medical records. If you subscribe to an identity theft service that includes a guarantee or insurance, your legal fees might even be covered under the plan.

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