Unlike credit card fraud, medical identity theft can cause a significant financial fallout. According to research conducted by Ponemon Institute, 65% of medical identity theft victims had to pay an average of $13,500 to recover from it. In most cases the victims learn about the theft on average about three months after the crime has been committed. 30% of these victims don’t even know when they were subjected to medical identity theft. In most cases, the victims end up paying the healthcare provider and the insurance company for the services availed by the imposter.
While identity theft is commonly associated with financial fraud, it is becoming a regular occurrence in the medical/healthcare sector. The 2017 Annual Data Breach Year-End Review by the Identity Theft Resource Center reports that the medical sector ranks second with 374 breaches (23.7 percent of overall total) out of 1579 reported cases of data breaches.
Key takeaways from the survey:
- 79% of respondents expect healthcare providers to be proactive in preventing and detecting medical identity theft.
- 48% of respondents would consider changing healthcare providers if their medical records were lost or stolen.
- Only 37% of respondents say their healthcare providers have informed them about the measures they take to protect medical records.
Personal identity information like: DOB, Social Security Numbers are commodities that can be hacked, used to falsify insurance claims or to fraudulently acquire government benefits such as Medicaid or Medicare. In fact, identification data is sold on the dark web for as little as 15 cents per lead where it can be used to create entirely new medical identities. Only in rare cases are medical identity victims informed by the healthcare provider or the insurance company about suspicious or fraudulent activity on their account.
Becoming aware of Medical Identity Theft
In the United States alone, medical identity theft is costing the healthcare industry $80 billion to $230 billion, annually. According to these estimates, healthcare organizations which suffer from data breaches are subject to costs that average $2 million over two years. Therefore, it is imperative to become as impenetrable as the financial services industry.
Your business’s security protocols must keep up with the latest methods of cybercriminals use to perpetuate fraud. To reduce risk of medical identity theft, you should help healthcare consumers gain more control over their medical records. Ultimately, however healthcare providers and or organizations are responsible for informing consumers about the devastating effects of medical identity theft.
Healthcare providers, insurance providers and the governments must improve their identity authentication methods to curb the rise of medical identity theft. Following are the recommendations for healthcare organizations on how to protect against medical identity theft:
- Educate Healthcare Consumers on Medical Identity Theft
One method fraudsters use to gain personally identifiable information like date of birth and Social Security numbers is through data breaches. This makes the data much more valuable, making it far easier for criminals to sell on the dark web.
Even when proper precautions are taken, identifiable information can still be stolen. Senior citizens are at highest risk because – 1.) They live independently or in a community, which is not enough to prevent social isolation, 2.) Due to health issues senior citizens require frequent hospital or doctor’s visits increasing the risk twofold 3.) They have a higher credit scores, making it easier to assess large amounts of credit, and 4.) On an average, senior citizens have over 24 times the amount of assets of younger people, making them more attractive to criminals.
Healthcare consumers need to be made aware of the risks they take by viewing billing statements, test results, appointments, etc. online on an unsecured device. Educate healthcare consumers, especially senior citizens, on the proper protocols for protecting their PC from data breaches. Encourage consumers to request a copy of their medical records to make it easier to immediately detect suspicious new entries.
- Train Staff on Fraud
Not only should patients be educated but medical staff should be trained on medical identity theft. New hires should be given extensive training, and senior employees should be updated frequently on the latest technology identity thieves use to target hospitals and insurance companies.
- Authenticate Patient Identity
IDMERIT’s healthcare solutions provide advanced protection from healthcare fraud and identity abuse. With our platform, you will be able to securely verify and confirm healthcare information – It’s quick and easy. We are constantly updating our data in real time, so your organization will always be compliant with relevant regulatory standards and we hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards. The result is a much higher level of patient and provider trust. Contact us today and let’s build a fraud free world for future generations.
IDMERIT’s identity verification platform instantly performs these functions:
- Name and ID Verification
- Address Verification
- Age Verification
- Fraud detection
IDMERIT is a global consumer and business verification portal. We help customers across industries and government sectors predict, assess, and manage risks by combining next-generation risk management and anti-fraud services. Our warehouse of unique data and advanced analytics tools addresses evolving client needs. We can help your company automate decision making while upholding the highest standards of security and privacy.
We work closely with world-class niche organizations and Fortune 500 companies offering data warehousing and validity of contact data solutions to ensure they are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) of 1988. Our company powers the global identity ecosystem for customers.