Medical identity theft refers to the fraudulent use of an individual’s personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI) including name, Social Security or health insurance numbers to receive medical treatment, devices, prescriptions or other health benefits. This can include submitting fraudulent claims to health insurance companies for financial compensation.
According to the FTC Consumer Sentinel Network, 7,593 individuals filed identity theft reports regarding medical services between April and June 2022. Given the increase in security incidents at healthcare providers in the past year, the number of victims will surely rise.
Since June 2022, at least 100 security incidents hit healthcare providers in the US, exposing the data of over 8.4 million individuals, according to the HIPAA Breach Reporting Tool.
Medical identity theft doesn’t just affect individuals financially (ruining their credit) -- it can also bring serious health consequences. According to a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, 20% of victims suffered delayed care, misdiagnosis and mistreatment due to incorrect information found in their medical records.
Common signs of medical identity theft:
Identity thieves can rack up thousands of dollars in medical bills before victims become aware of the crime. The damages suffered by victims can take years to correct, with some individuals even facing legal prosecution because their identity was used to purchase caches of prescription drugs.
Here are some steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim:
Medical identity theft is harder to detect than regular financial fraud. Victims can go on for months before realizing they’ve been compromised. As an added protection, check out Bitdefender Identity Theft Protection plans to help you thwart identity thieves before they can ruin your credit score and deplete your medical plan. Our plans include comprehensive identity theft protection features including: