Staying Vigilant to Avoid Medical Identity Theft

It seems like you can’t turn on the news today without hearing a story about the latest security breach. Major retail chains, small mom-and-pop shops, and even titans of the medical industry are reeling from multiple thefts of electronic data by virtual bandits. Purchasing group health insurance plans in Miami with the guidance from a professional insurance agent is helpful in making sure that the best quality policies from top-rated providers are available for comparison. It’s not always an apples to apples comparison, so your agent will guide you in deciphering the many features and benefits that each contender offers, and analyzing them to determine which one can give you the biggest bang for your buck. Your agent can also offer information about medical identity theft, which is of fastest-growing crimes in the United States today.

What happens when foxes get inside the henhouse

When crooks get hold of someone’s credit card information, they typically use it to try to run up charges on the card as quickly as possible. The credit card company (or the consumer) cancels the card and sends the consumer a new one. But cracking a company’s database of medical personal information of its clients gives thieves access to a treasure trove of additional data. They may use this information about a particular person to do everything from fraudulently obtain prescriptions, get expensive surgery (Brazilian butt lift, anyone?) or other medical services, and even receive benefit checks.
The damage that thieves can cause may be substantial, and consumers can spend years clearing their name of negative credit reporting information that has been unfairly assigned to them due to the identity theft–and this can have a ripple effect, creating hardships in everything from obtaining new credit to purchasing a house or even getting a job.

How to protect yourself

Vigilance is necessary in these troubled times. Experts recommend that you do the following:

  • Carefully check insurance and medical statements when you receive them, rather than just quickly glancing at them. Don’t toss them in the trash–shred them as you would any financial data.
  • Watch for discrepancies in dates and types of services provided, as well as errors in the name of the service provider.
  • Keep close tabs on your member identification card.
  • Never provide your personal information (e.g., your date of birth) just to get a freebie at some store–you never know when that information could be compromised, or is a scam itself.
  • Don’t provide personal information over the phone or via email unless you initiated the contact with that provider.

Your professional insurance agent can guide you toward an excellent choice for group health insurance plans in Miami. You can support her efforts by making some prudent choices of your own.