News & Resources

Medical identity theft remains major issue

Jun 29, 2012 Philip Burgess

While many consumers know that identity theft is a major problem in America, a number of individuals do not go to great lengths to protect their personal data. As such, these people may become victims of medical fraud, which can affect finances for years. Many times, consumers do not realize their identity has been stolen until they are approached by a debt collection agent looking for a payment. The number of those affected by the crime is on the rise. Medical fraud costs increasing A recent survey taken by the Ponemon Institute revealed 90 percent of Americans know about the dangers of medical identity theft, though only 52 percent report the incident if it happens to them. Part of this is because over half of all victims know the criminal. Approximately 2 million Americans are victims of medical identity theft each year, and the survey found the average person affected is fraudulently charged more than $22,300 as a result, representing an increase of around $2,000 year-over-year. Usually, victims must pay their healthcare provider out-of-pocket to cover the false charges. This crime is often allowed to go on because 57 percent of individuals don't check their medical records to assure the documents are correct, party because many don't know how to do so, while others don't trust the accuracy of their doctors. Major problem for short term lending companies When an identity is stolen, the criminal commonly goes to a lender and opens up a line of credit to steal more money. Not only does this greatly affect the victim, whose credit history will reflect the fraudulent charges until it can be rectified. When a thief borrows money from a lender in the name of another individual, the company often never gets its money back. Lenders should always run thorough checks to verify the identity of all customers who borrow money, or risk losing the sums. There are many tools available to businesses to protect their company. For example, Microbilt offers a number of background screening solutions that can be used by a number of industries. Lenders may find the Professional License Verification program particularly beneficial - any type of license, from driver's to doctor's certifications, can be verified quickly from databases amassed from all 50 states. The program can be used by anyone to ensure the validity of the identity a borrower is claiming to own.