The following post on preventing medical ID theft and patient fraud in healthcare was submitted by Meghan Belnap.
In this digital age, we can purchase anything with a click, transfer money from one bank account to another in a split second, and reconnect with people from anywhere in the world. There are so many great advantages to the internet age but unfortunately, there are serious drawbacks as well.
As technology advances, so do the dirty tricks played by criminals in an attempt to commit patient fraud and identity theft. With so much of our medical history available at our fingertips in digital form, it’s easier than ever to have that stolen from us. Here are five simple ways to avoid falling victim:
Hackers are skilled at decoding passwords. If the one you use is not a unique combination of numbers, letters, and symbols, you are putting yourself at a higher risk. If your password is still hacked from one site, it is important that you are not also handing them your password for everything else as well. For example, if your patient portal account password is fraudulently obtained, you do not want that to also be the password you use for your bank account. It requires keeping track of numerous passwords, but it is worth it to use different ones for each site you log in to within your digital health network.
Swipe With Caution
Card skimmers are very popular tools used by crooks to gain access to your account information. Each time you swipe a debit or credit card at a hospital or any other A.T.M. machine or gas pump, the machine reads the information stored on the black strip on the back of the card. This houses important information and it is all a hacker needs to wipe out your bank account. When you approach these machines, look at them closely. Does the area that you insert the card into seem loose or ill-fitting in any way? Does the paint color and material of it match the surrounding area? If not, there may be a skimming device attached to the machine. If you are suspicious, try giving it a tug. Is it loose? If you experience this, contact local law enforcement right away.
If you have access to online banking, take advantage of it. Set up alerts that notify you when funds have been used over a certain amount or in ways unusual for your typical spending patterns.
Be Careful With Your Card
Keep an eye on your cards at all times. Statistics show that on average over 12 million U.S citizens identify as fraud victims annually. Professional FBI experts who are board certified behavior analysts specialize in investigative criminal or terrorist actions. While help is offered to those that are victim of patient fraud and identity theft, take the extra precautions to keep yourself safe by implementing smart daily precautions.
Identity Protection Services
There are a variety of resources available at your convenience which specialize in monitoring your social security number, name, and other personal information that could be used for patient fraud or identity theft. Most companies charge a fee to provide this service but if it prevents even one breach, it will be money well spent.
While there are numerous ways someone can gain access to your personal information, there are by far more things you can do to prevent it. Be cautious with your private details. Keep things secure both online and physically with the proper protection required. Whether it’s a safe box in your closet to keep your social security card, health insurance ID, birth certificates and other documents out of reach, or strong passwords that keep hackers out of accounts, it is possible to avoid patient fraud.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.