What is Medical Identity Theft?

Posted on in Federal Crimes

Chicago medical identity theft defense lawyerLike everything else lately, medical care has become extraordinarily expensive for the average person. It should come as no surprise that some people have resorted to identity theft in order to obtain medical care. However, doing so can lead to federal charges rather easily. Because most major hospital systems are tied to some form of federal funding or operate in multiple states, most instances of medical identity theft will fall under federal jurisdiction. While a somewhat understandable offense, identity theft remains a felony even when it is committed in an effort to receive health care. If you have been charged with identity theft in a medical context, it is important that you immediately contact a skilled federal crimes defense attorney. 

How Does Medical Identity Theft Work?

Medical identity theft is a bit of an unusual, but increasingly common form of stealing another person’s identity. In general, it occurs when someone uses false documentation or provides false information to a medical provider, claiming to be someone else in order to be treated. Forms of this offense include: 

  • ER fraud - Most Emergency Rooms ask people to type in their social security number and give their name, rather than showing ID. People who need emergency care and cannot pay for it will sometimes use another person’s social security number and name. This can be done with or without the victim’s knowledge - or blessing. 
  • Medicare fraud - Using a stolen identity in order to obtain Medicare benefits is not uncommon. This typically involves rather classic identity theft - stealing a person’s identifying information, like their social security number - and then applying for benefits in the victim’s name. Because Medicare and Medicaid are such large organizations, it can be difficult for them to notice this type of fraud immediately. 
  • Insurance fraud - Using another person’s identity and health insurance policy to obtain treatment is a type of identity theft. A copy of another person’s insurance card is often all that is needed. Services will then be charged to the victim and/or the victim’s insurance company. 
  • Narcotics fraud - Patients who are prescribed a controlled substance may fall victim to this type of offense. The offenders in this situation are motivated by a desire to obtain intoxicating medications rather than to receive medical treatment. An offender may use the victim’s identity in order to refill, obtain, or pick up a prescription for a controlled substance. 

Unlike most forms of identity theft, medical identity theft is sometimes carried out with the consent of the “victim.” The person whose identity is being falsely used to obtain health care is sometimes deemed an accomplice if they willingly allowed the defendant to use their identity. 

Call an Illinois Identity Theft Lawyer

If you have been charged with federal identity theft after allegedly using another person’s identity to obtain treatment, Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney can offer you high-quality legal representation. Our Chicago identity theft attorneys will strive to have your charges reduced or dismissed. Call 312-629-0669 for a free consultation. 



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