Connecticut Better Business Bureau and FTC Explain Warning Signs and Offer Tips to Protect Yourself
Connecticut Better Business Bureau is alerting consumers about a new and growing form of identity theft involving medical insurance.
Medical identity thieves pose as employees of insurance companies, doctors’ offices, hospitals and pharmacies to obtain your personal information. These con artists can use personal information gathered from medical insurance, Medicare and Medicaid to obtain treatment, prescription drugs and surgery.
Medical insurance fraud is costly in another way: policy holders can end up receiving improper medical treatment because of false information in their medical files, such as medical test results or an inaccurate history of drug or alcohol abuse, and face bill collectors and problems in their credit reports.
According to Connecticut Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warning signs that you are the victim of medical identity theft include:
- Inaccuracies on your credit report for items such as medical collection notices you don’t recognize. This can be checked for free at http://www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Bills for medical service you did not receive.
- Medical Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statements showing claims for treatment you did not receive.
- Debt collector contacts about medical debt you do not owe.
- You order a copy of your credit report to see if there is any suspicious activity
- Being told you reached your limit of benefits when you try to make a legitimate insurance claim or being denied insurance because your medical records reflect a condition you don’t have.
The FTC offers additional information about medical identity theft on its website, at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/idtheft/idt10.shtm:
- Verify medical sources before sharing insurance information.
- Do not give out personal or medical information on the phone or through the mail unless you made the initial contact.
- Protect your medical information just as you would a credit card or Social Security information. Shred medical records that you are throwing away. The FTC also recommends destroying the labels on your prescription bottles and packages before you discard them.
If you suspect you are the victim of medical insurance fraud, BBB recommends contacting your insurer, the major credit reporting agencies and medical providers. More information is available from the FTC’s Identity Theft Site at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft.
You will find additional consumer tips, visit http://www.ct.bbb.org/.