News & Resources

Medical identity theft can damage consumer credit scores

Jul 05, 2013 Dave King

Identity theft can occur for any number of reasons, one of the most damaging being health care related when medical records are compromised.

When patient health care information is stolen, personal information can get into the wrong hands and lead to identity theft. Oftentimes, criminals attempt to open lines of credit using false names, which is why short term lenders need to be the first line of defense against this crime.

Additionally, ID verification tools are essential when receiving applications for a loan, as financial institutions need to be sure the identity is of the person who is applying.

According to the Citizen Contributor, falsified lines of credit aren't the only worry of people who are victimized by medical identity theft, as thieves can use information to see doctors, get prescriptions and file insurance claims in their name.

As a result, the person whose identity was stolen could be denied insurance coverage or receive improper care at hospitals. The Ponemon Institute said the cost of this type of crime was $41 billion in 2012, the source noted.

Breach occurs at Stanford hospital
Sometimes, identity theft can be a result of HIPPA breaches occurring at hospitals across the country, which have happened all-too-often at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

A recent incident lead to nearly 13,000 patients having their protected health information being compromised, HealthcareITNews reported. This was the fifth breach to happen at this hospital.

Information that was stolen included patient names, ages, medical record numbers, surgical procedures, names of physicians involved and telephone numbers.

Short term lenders can assist identity theft victims
In addition to being the first line of defense against identity theft, short term lenders can provide financial assistance to victims. These institutions typically use alternative credit solutions to approve applications, which can be beneficial for those who have damaged credit scores.