While identity theft affects consumers in many different ways, most people associate it with thieves using someone's identity and other personal information to take out loans or credit cards. More and more stolen identities, though, are being used to commit medical-related crimes. These crimes can do more than damage a consumer's finances. They can also make it difficult to get certain prescription medications, and may result in legal charges being leveled against the person involved.
By using someone's stolen medical information, including their health insurance information, a thief can buy medical supplies, possibly get prescription drugs, and they may be able to see a doctor and have procedures carried out while pretending to be someone else. Of course, the victim's insurance is charged for this, resulting in a huge bill that can take months, if not years, to clear. During that time, the unpaid bills will damage the victim's credit.
It is also possible that medical records will be affected. With both the victim and the thief using the same identity, the electronic health records for the victim may have some or all of the thief's information added to it. This can lead to doctors prescribing the wrong medications or diagnosing the victim with illnesses they do not have.
Individuals are cautioned to make an annual review of their medical records to check for accuracy, and to report the theft of their health insurance card to the company immediately.
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