Our firm handles a fair amount of identity theft cases. Not cases in which someone commits the federal and state crime of identity theft – we don’t handle criminal cases – but cases in which an unknown person steals your personal information, you report it and take the proper steps, but large corporations refuse to believe your reporting that you or a loved one are a victim of identity theft. Millions of people every year are dealing with medical identity theft issues and so you would think that corporations would have processes set up to assist victims of these crimes.
One increasingly common scenario is medical identity theft: where an individual or group used your information to get medical treatment, buy prescription drugs or commit Medicare fraud in your name. This isn’t just an addict trying to buy drugs for use. In the past decade, there have been numerous federal arrests relating to the mafia’s engagement in medical identity theft.
There are a few ways in which your personal information can be at risk, not all of which are in your control. The most common scheme to obtain your personal information involves a request where you are asked to provide Medicare number or ID card (usually where you are getting some awesome “benefit” in return for giving up your personal information). But it can also involve theft of a doctor’s records or professional information. Hospitals have relatively low security of your information when compared with a bank. It can even involve a hack on government records.
Here’s just a short list of some of the problems this can create:
- Debt collectors and medical providers call you about debts that aren’t yours.
- Unfamiliar charges or accounts on your credit report, which can ruin your ability to borrow money for a house or a car.
- Invasion of Privacy
- You now have INCORRECT treatment history in your medical records. This could lead to you not receiving appropriate treatment in the future and can impact your ability to secure a fair rate on your medical insurance.
The federal government sponsors a website www.identitytheft.gov, that you can use to get a recovery plan in place and put that plan into action. That is a great start and source for information. If you are in North Carolina, you can also contact our firm. We are happy to point you in the right direction as to what you can do about the ID Theft issue. There’s no charge for that of course.
It is also important to note that if the issue is on your credit report, it MAY not be an identity theft issue. Occasionally, what has happened is not an identity theft at all, but rather a credit reporting agency mixing two people with similar identifies (similar name, similar DOB, similar social security number etc.) into one credit file. If you are receiving bills from medical debt collectors or there are inaccurate medical items on your credit report, this is certainly a possibility. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act provides protections associated with “mixed files,” in addition to the requirements relating to identity thefts.
Call us or email if you or a loved one is dealing with these issues. There is no charge for these conversations. Hopefully our firm can help.