Financial Planning

Medical ID theft: A threat to your wallet … and your health

MedicineSundays at CPA Success are all about financial literacy -- getting smarter about your finances and improving your bottom line. So let's start with a question:

Ever hear of medical identity theft? I hadn't until I read this Money Management article from the American Institute of CPAs and the MACPA.

Like more traditional forms of identity theft, medical ID thieves steal personal information, but they use it to get medical care or access to medications, or to file false claims in the hopes of getting reimbursed by insurance companies.

There's a frightening twist, though: Medical identity theft can actually endanger your health.

"If a scammer has medical procedures performed using your identity, that person’s medical history is now added to your own," the article reads. "Medical identity theft victims who go into the hospital for needed procedures have found out that their records show incorrect information about previous medical conditions. As a result of such mix-ups, patients may receive the wrong blood type in a transfusion or be given a drug to which they’re allergic."

And, of course, there are financial implications as well. Thieves may damage victims' credit ratings by piling up unpaid bills.

The article offers tips for how you can protect yourself against this scary new threat. Read them carefully, then tell us: Do you know victims of medical identity theft?


Bill Sheridan