Almost half of medical identity theft was perpetrated by a relative or someone else they knew. That is why it has earned the label of “the friendly fraud”.

According to Consumer Reports, the effects of medical identity theft can be far-reaching, costing victims time, money, and aggravation. A 2018 report from Javelin Strategy & Research found that, on average, identity fraud victims spent only $280 out of pocket to resolve financial account problems.

But 65 percent of the medical identity theft victims surveyed by Ponemon said they spent an average of $13,500 to pay the healthcare bills run up in their name, to recover their health insurance, and to pay lawyer’s fees, among other things. Ponemon also found that it took an average of more than three months for victims to even detect the fraud and more than 200 hours to undo the mess.

Medical Identity Theft occurs when someone uses your personal information — such as your name, Social Security number or health insurance ID — to get medical care, submit claims or buy drugs or expensive medical equipment.

How can we protect ourselves against this personal and unforgiving crime?

Safeguard your Social Security number and medical insurance card and ask medical providers how they use your personal information.

Treat medical bills, prescription drug labels and insurance statements as you would any other sensitive information — and shred them.

Treat your insurance number, including Medicare number like a credit card. You would not give out credit card information to a stranger. Do not give out your number to anyone.

Read your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statement from your insurance company, and if the claim is unfamiliar, call your insurance company immediately.

If you would like to talk to a Specialist about how to help your employees, customers, and even your community help keep control of their personal, financial, and medical information, contact KII Consulting, Inc. today for a complimentary consultation.