How to Protect Yourself Against Medical Record Theft

I heard a story yesterday that broke my heart.

A friend of mine was selling his house. After several months, finally the right buyer came along and put in an offer.

Contracts were signed. Movers were paid. Everyone was happy.

Then something crazy (but all too common) happened.

As soon as the buyer wired her down payment to the title company… a hacker swept in and intercepted the funds.

It was gone in mere seconds.

All the money this young woman had saved for her first home… tens of thousands of dollars… vanished.

Just like that.

Now the bank, the title company and even the FBI are working feverishly to track down the stolen money. Odds are it’s already been moved to an untraceable location.

If they recover a dime, it will be a miracle.

The buyer will most likely never see her hard-earned money again.

When I heard the story, like I said, it broke my heart.

But what’s even sadder is this type of theft is becoming more and more frequent.

These days, bad guys don’t have to put on ski masks and storm bank vaults.

They can do far more damage online.

And it doesn’t stop with your bank account…

Medical Record Theft: Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Medical record theft affects millions of people each year. And the consequences can be grave indeed.

A high-profile breach at Anthem Insurance exposed the data of some 78 million patients.

You probably saw that one on the news.

But did you know that there were hundreds of major hacks that occurred just last year?

Millions of records were stolen from HealthEquity, MedEvolve, Lifebridge Health, UnityPoint Health, AccuDoc Solutions and more.

A recent survey found that only 16% of healthcare providers say they have a “fully functional” cybersecurity program.

That’s crazy, right?

But think about it. Why should they cut into their bottom line shelling out money for cybersecurity measures? Most of their customers don’t even realize what’s happening…

Until it’s too late.

Take the story of Brandon Reagin, a Marine who had his data stolen. Over the course of several months, thieves racked up $20,000 in medical costs.

Reagin was totally in the dark… until the bills started hitting his inbox.

More than 10 years later, he’s still working to clean up his credit.

“It was quite a tumultuous decade of a mess,” he told a CBS reporter.

What You Need to Understand About Medical Record Theft

To protect yourself from medical record theft, you need to first understand all of the points where your data can be accessed.

Remember the days when your medical records were stored in a manila folder and locked away in a filing cabinet at your primary doc’s office?

Those days are long gone.

Now, at any given point, your data can be snatched from the computer network of a hospital… lab… urgent care clinic… insurance office…

Basically any medical facility you’ve ever visited.

And whenever you go someplace new for a test or consultation, your records are blasted through cyberspace… where you’d better believe prying eyes are watching and waiting.

Your full medical record may be up for sale on the dark web right now. It could fetch a pretty penny, too… as much as $1,000 according to one cybersecurity expert. Possibly more.

It contains everything a thief could want, from your birthday and your credit card info to your home address and – oh, yeah – your social security number.

That’s why it’s important that you have a plan.

How to Protect Yourself From Medical Record Theft

You can quickly and easily spot if you’ve been the victim of medical record theft… if you pay attention.

Read your medical and insurance statements closely. If you get something in the mail – that’s physical mail or email – that looks funky, check to make sure the name of the provider, the date of service and other details are correct. If they’re not, pick up the phone ASAP.

Check your credit report too. Confirm there aren’t any fraudulent medical bills weighing down your score. You can (and should) do this annually without incurring any penalty.

You should also periodically request physical copies of your medical files. Keep them someplace safe (and shred or burn any documents you throw away). Doing this won’t stop your data from being passed around… but it will give you a leg to stand on if bill collectors come calling about some expensive procedure you never had done.

And for additional peace of mind, you may want to consider an identity theft protection service. If you go this route, just make sure you don’t merely opt for credit monitoring. You need identity monitoring to track if your SSN or medical ID is being misused.

Get started today. Review your records and make sure everything is as it should be.

Don’t wait until it’s too late.

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