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ID verification lessons from medical sector

Jun 10, 2013 Philip Burgess

Identity theft continues to be one of the biggest threats facing organizations and consumers in the United States, while data breaches have been among the most common causes of the crime in recent years. Enterprises and public sector organizations need to be more proactive and comprehensive when it comes to defending sensitive corporate information and upholding data security.

While retailers and virtually every other entity that handles customer credit card numbers and other financial information needs to oblige the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, this is not always enough to maintain total security. Additionally, organizations in other industries could benefit from putting in more ID verification protocols, including the medical sector, which has become one of the hardest hit by identity theft.

ID theft hits healthcare
The Jackson Sun recently reported that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued a warning related to the potential risks that come along with medical identity theft. ID verification is important for any organizations, as problems with this process which can lead to financial incursions, hindered brand images and legal problems, regardless of which industry the entity operates in.

According to the news provider, the BBB cited reception of incorrect medical treatment, failed physical exams when they should have been passed and exhausted health insurance as common signs of an issue. The organization noted that there are two different types of medical identity theft, though each is as serious as the other. One occurs when a criminal fraudulently uses a person's name to receive treatment, and the other is the falsification of medical claims and records.

These issues are somewhat consistent in other industries as well, especially the first type of medical identity theft. Businesses can avoid the associated losses by maintaining strict ID verification protocols, and potentially put a stop to identity theft schemes early on in the operation, minimizing the damages to the victim.

The Jackson Sun added that consumers should review credit reports for any abnormalities as often as possible and look out for collection notices for fraudulent medical claims.

Businesses need to act
FOX Business recently reported that medical identity theft has become one of the biggest problems in the United States, with $80 billion lost to healthcare fraud every year. Companies that have healthcare plans need to be especially vigilant throughout the oversight process and implement any safeguards necessary to protect employee's medical records.

According to the news provider, medical records have become more valuable on the black market than Social Security numbers and virtually any other information. The source added that many victims do not know that they have had their identities stolen until the losses are substantial.

The government has increased efforts to find identity thieves and bring them to justice as soon as possible because of the massive losses experienced in the nation every year. However, businesses that maintain strong information governance policies and protect enforce ID verification protocols stringently are the best line of defense against this crime.

Between strong data security standards and agile ID verification policies, enterprises can avoid the losses associated with identity theft.