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Attempts To Stop Medical Identity Theft

From the North Carolina News & Observer:

"About six months ago, Family Medical Associates of Raleigh started taking photos of its patients to add to its permanent electronic file. That way, when someone comes in for an appointment, the administrator can quickly pull up the medical records and confirm that the person seeking treatment is indeed the correct patient, said Janet Spangler, administrator for the practice."

Medical identity theft is a problem needing more discussion:

Medical identity theft occurs when someone uses another person's personal information to get medical services or prescriptions or collect money from medical claims.

Most of the attention on identity theft so far has focused on financial fraud: opening credit or getting loans in another person's name; using another person's credit card number; and stealing from another person's financial accounts.

From an MSNBC news article, why consumers should check the accuracy of their medical files:

"...if an identity thief presents himself at the hospital in your name and is identified as having a different blood type, that blood type ends up registered in your medical history, with potentially disastrous consequences if you end up in a serious accident. Or suppose you apply for a new job. Even if you’re fit as a fiddle, you could still fail a pre-employment medical screening or be rejected for company-provided health insurance because of the inaccurate presence of an ailment in your medical history that you don’t have."

The same MSNBC article reports medical identity theft as a growing problem:

"In a report last year, the World Privacy Forum found that the number of Americans identifying themselves in government documents as victims of medical identity theft had nearly tripled in just four years, to more than a quarter-million in 2005. Motives for medical identity theft can vary. Some thieves, as in these cases, are seeking controlled medications. Others are seeking federal money."


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