Identity thieves want far more than your credit card, debit card, and bank account information. They want your medical information. Why? For a variety of reasons, one of which I covered in yesterday's blog post. Another reason is to sell stolen medical information to others to get free health care they don't have access to otherwise.
ComputerWorld reported the results of recent survey about medical identity theft:
"Roughly 5.8% of American adults have been victimized, according to a new survey from The Ponemon Institute. The cost per victim, on average, is $20,160... "The National Study on Medical Identity Theft" is based on findings from 156,000 people who agreed to discuss identity theft in general. Among those surveyed, 5.8% provided specific details about how they had been hit by medical ID theft, in particular."
Medical identity theft is defined as when another person uses stolen medical insurance information to acquire health care goods and services. Some key statistics from the survey:
"29% of victims of medical ID theft discovered the problem a year after the incident, and 21% said it took two or more years to learn about it... Nearly half of the victims (48%) lost coverage due to medical ID theft. Roughly 75% found resolution difficult, and only about 25% said there were no consequences due to the theft... 46% did not report the incident to law enforcement or other legal authorities... and 33% said the medical ID theft occurred because a family member used their medical ID for goods and services without their knowledge."
So, consumers should protect their medical insurance cards just as you would protect your debit/credit cards.