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Medical ID Theft

Over 1.84 million Americans were subjected to having their medical ID stolen recently, according to a recent Poneman Institute report (

Victims of identity theft often don’t realize that they’ve even had their medical ID stolen until long after the fact, when they receive a collection notice or their credit score drops. 36% of all victims of medical identity theft lost an average of $19,000, while a marginal number lost upwards of $100,000.

The number of victims and the average monetary loss is expected to significantly increase in 2014! These few basic precautions could help you lower the chances of having your identity stolen.


NeoCertified - Medical Identity TheftHow it happens:

While most people realize the importance of protecting their Social Security Number (SSN), most don’t understand the importance of their Medicare or health insurance number. These numbers can be obtained fraudulently through bogus health-related phone calls or health fairs. Vulnerable members of society may also include the homeless, who are often bribed with minimal cash offerings to obtain their Medicare account information.

These identity crimes can also occur in medical offices where corrupt employees abuse their access to member information, selling account numbers, birth dates and other related data. Sometime the Social Security Numbers and Medicare numbers are stolen through patient or medical office use of unsecured email.

(Reading an unprotected plain-text email is as easy as reading an open post-card! That’s why the Federal Government established the HIPAA regulations which require any email that has privileged data, like a Social Security Number or Medicare Number, which is referred to as Electronic Protected Health Information or ePHI, be sent securely.)

NeoCertified - Medical ID TheftHow to prevent:

    1. Do not share your Social Security Number or Medicare number over the phone with someone you don’t personally know. Also, make sure that any health-related event you attend is sponsored by a trusted source.
    2. Do not send your Social Security Number or Medicare number by unsecured email and don’t let your health provider send you any information to you via regular email. Insist that they use secure email. (If your health provider requests to send you information via a regular email service and you approve, your health provider is not responsible for any loss of information.)
    3. Never share any of your health information via social media.
    4. Check your credit reports at least once a year.


NeoCertified - Identity TheftWhat to do if you have your medical ID stolen:

  1. Call your local police and file a report.
  2. Report any Medicare or Medicaid crimes to the government as soon as possible. You can call 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477) or by going to
  3. Contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Hotline at 877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338).
  4. Contact the Social Security Office by calling 1-800-269-0271 or sending an email to
  5. Set up a security alert on your credit reports by contacting the credit reporting agencies directly: Experian (, Equifax ( and Transunion (



Peter J. Schaub

NeoCertified – President & CEO