BBB offers advice and best practices for managing your medical information.

Identity theft affects millions of Americans every year, causing financial ruin and damaging credit histories that can take months or years to repair. Unfortunately, a specific type of identity theft is on the rise: medical identity theft. But, what is medical identity theft, and how does it differ from a classic case of identity theft?

Medical identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information in order to obtain medical care, buy drugs or submit fake billings to Medicare in your name, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Unlike financial identity theft—which occurs when someone illegally uses your personal financial information to empty your bank account or rack up charges on credit cards taken out in your name—medical identity theft can have other serious consequences and is more difficult to clear up. Any type of treatment, diagnosis or surgery that occurs with a stolen identity could become a part of your medical record. This could affect your access to medical care, insurance benefits and the acquired debts could end up on your credit report.

Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission offer the following advice to help prevent your medical information from falling into the wrong hands:

  • Watch out for red flags.
  • Keep copies of your medical records.
  • Read the statements from your health insurance plan.
  • Protect your personal information.
  • Check your credit report.

Click here to read the full news release and learn more about these prevention steps.

Click here to watch a news clip with the Better Business Bureau (KBTX 3).

November 3, 2016 By Better Business Bureau