The Growing Problem of Medical Identity Theft

medical identity theft, white-collar crime, Illinois Defense AttorneyIt can be easy to understand how identity theft can create serious problems for victims. Perpetrators will often use personal information, such as Social Security numbers or credit card data, to falsely obtain credit or access to the victims’ money, often leaving the victim responsible for dealing with the aftermath. However, there is another type of identity theft that is causing increasing concern around the country centering around access to health care services and prescription drugs. Medical identity theft, as it is known, is now attracting the attention of federal regulators looking to protect consumers.

Understanding Medical Identity Theft

Medical identity theft typically begins with the thief obtaining another person’s health insurance information, often through leaks or cyberattacks. The thief will then use that information to seek medical care and prescription drugs. The claims are subsequently filed to the victim’s health insurance, using the victim’s name and information, allowing the thief to essentially receive free care. As in most cases of identity theft, the victim is left responsible for the bills.

What makes medical identity theft particularly dangerous, however, is the impact it can have on the victim’s medical record. The treatments, medications, and other health information of the thief are mixed with the legitimate care received by the victim. This can lead to an extremely confusing medical history, and may create a dangerous situation for the victim in the event of a major medical issue.

Costs of Medical Identity Theft

The Medical Identity Fraud Alliance estimates that 2.3 million Americans fell victim to some form of medical identity theft in 2014, an increase of almost 22 percent from the previous year. The Alliance also found that nearly two-thirds of victims spent about 200 hours and over $13,000 to clean up the resulting mess. Approximately 20 percent saw their credit score negatively impacted and nearly one-third lost their health insurance.

Facing Charges of Identity Theft

Identity theft in Illinois is an extremely serious matter, and, depending on the circumstances, may be prosecuted as misdemeanor or a felony. If you have been charged with medical identity theft, or any other white-collar crime, you need qualified legal representation. Contact an experienced Chicago identity theft attorney today to schedule your free consultation.

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