Harvard Health Letter

Watch out for medical identity theft

Identity thieves are moving into the health care business in a big way.

A survey of doctors, insurers, and pharmacies found that a third of them had caught someone using another person's identity to get health services. But in many cases, the thieves are after billing information so they can make fraudulent claims. In one scam, older people were called up and told that they needed to provide their current Medicare number because the federal health care reform law required that they get a new one, which isn't true. The scammers could then use the Medicare numbers to bill the government for services that were never delivered.

The Federal Trade Commission has some suggestions for preventing medical identity theft. They're pretty basic but, at the very least, serve as useful reminders:

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