Danger at the Doctor

How to protect yourself from medical identity theft

You likely don’t ever think about it, but your visits to the doctor and hospital are quite enticing to thieves. That’s because your health records are a door to a plethora of other information — from your Social Security number to banking details. You need to be doing whatever you can to keep your medical identity safe.

One way to prevent becoming a victim of medical ID theft is to be inquisitive at times you normally aren’t. It might seem odd to ask your doctor’s office about its security measures, but it’s a necessity. The same goes with visits to the hospital. Ask staffers what steps they take to protect your info. As US News reports, you don’t need to know the explicit details of the security, it’s more about hearing some level of concern back when you make your inquiries. If the staffers are puzzled by your questions and don’t seem to have any clue about cyber security at their office, consider that a red flag.

Speaking of red flags, you should be monitoring your medical records for inaccuracies just like you monitor your credit report. Carefully review all medical bills and any other documents that come from medical visits. Watch out for medical conditions that you don’t have, calls from debt collectors asking about medical bills that you haven’t received, and more. When in doubt, follow up on any suspicious information.

If you end up having your medical records stolen, we suggest checking out the FTC’s site, which lists steps to work through the situation. Keep in mind that this isn’t the easiest thing to do by yourself. Navigating the medical system can be tricky. If you feel like it’s too much, contact your insurance provider, as they might have experts who can help. You can also reach out to one of the major credit bureaus for advice. The faster you move, the quicker you’ll have things back to normal.

Chris O'Shea

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