Medical Identity Theft On The Rise
According to the Medical Identity Theft Alliance (MIFA), the frequency of medical identity theft has increased substantially in recent years. This growing subset of identity theft involves the compromise of a person’s name and other sensitive information to order prescription drugs, receive medical services, and pay for medical care at the expense of the victim.
MIFA’s data indicates that medical identity theft increased approximately 22% in 2014 compared with the previous year. Although the amount of victims equates to just 1% of the U.S. population, it is the growth and frequency of medical identity theft that the MIFA is most concerned with. The MIFA reports that, on average, medical identity theft cases cost victims about $13,500 and 200 hours to resolve. Moreover, MIFA claims that just 10% of respondents it surveyed feel completely satisfied with the outcome of their resolution.
Adding to the issue of medical identity theft is the difficulty in preventing it from occurring. Just recently, health insurer Anthem made national headlines in one of the larger security breaches in recent history. The Anthem breach was particularly concerning due to the fact that the company believes its customers’ social security numbers may have been compromised, which allows thieves to wreak additional havoc on victims.
The rise in medical identity theft also comes during a time when other areas of identity theft have seen growth as well. The IRS has warned consumers about tax identity theft, which seems to be on the rise. MIFA recommends requesting a credit monitoring report for those who are seriously concerned. Of course, it is also wise to contact a consumer protection attorney for legal advice in the event of medical identity theft.