Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Check your Medical Records for ID Theft & Fraud

Did you know that you may have a medical information
file that's centrally located for easy access by over
700 insurance companies?

Did you also know that you can order that file and see
what is contained in it?

Before we reveal this relatively unknown source which
has been in existence for nearly a century, why would
a typical consumer even care about their medical
information being effected in anyway with credit
identity theft?

Read the following excerpts as just a few examples of
how identity theft can occur due to unauthorized
access to your medical information:

''We've investigated cases where the compromise point
was the medical records and patient records,'' says
John Wisniewski, a U.S. Postal Inspector and
supervisor of the Financial Crimes Task Force of
Southwestern Pennsylvania. - USA Today

''Medical information contains your Social Security
number, date of birth and even a physical
description,'' says Betsy Broder, who tracks identity
theft for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). ''All of
those are keys that people could use to exploit
someones financial identity, as well as their personal
identity.'' - USA Today

It can be used to take over someones identity, get a
passport or even declare bankruptcy. If an identity
thief knows an individual is close to death, they
could take out a life insurance policy in the victim's
name, naming themselves or an accomplice as the
beneficiary.

"September 15, 2004 state police have charged a New
Castle woman who worked for a medical billing company
with identity theft and making fraudulent purchases.
In June, a woman from Ohio contacted state police
about the illegal use of her social security number to
buy a vehicle in Delaware. Police say 34-year-old
Pamela Thompson-Saunders was using customers' personal
information to make fraudulent purchases, including
two cars and a motorcycle." - AP

"A temporary employee of the Dana-Farber Cancer
Institute stole patients' personal information. The
employee used one patient's name and date to obtain
$2,500 in long distance services and other phone
service." (J. Ellement, "Dana-Farber Says Patient Data
Stolen, " The Boston Globe, August 8, 2000, p. A1)

"Michelle Perez's answer to not having medical
insurance was to assume someone else's identity. That
got the Elgin woman the gall bladder surgery she
needed, but a judge Thursday decided she couldn't get
out of paying the hospital bill - or out of jail. Kane
County Judge Timothy Sheldon ruled Perez, 28, would
have to pay back Sherman Hospital in Elgin the $37,000
for her operation. She also will have to stay in jail
another 58 days. She has been in jail since her arrest
in April. She also will serve 36 months of probation. "

Source - High Beam Research http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc0.asp?docid=1G1:117473549&refid=ink_tptd_np&skeyword=&teaser=

Now that you may have an improved awareness of how
financially devastating identity theft and fraud can
impact you - using your medical records, we unveil
that little known source which can be an important
ally.

The Medical Information Bureau, also known as MIB
(http://www.mib.com), is the largest database of
medical information in the United States and Canada.
MIB conducts a confidential interchange of
underwriting information among its member life
insurance companies as an alert against fraud.

MIB holds approximately 15 million files in a central
database. MIB collects and provides information on
consumers to its over 700 member insurance companies
for use in their underwriting process.

MIB's member companies account for 99 percent of the
individual life insurance policies and 80 percent of
all health and disability policies issued in the
United States and Canada. When an insurance claim is
filed, a copy of this information goes to MIB.

Data collected by MIB may include:

  • medical conditions
  • family relationships
  • sexual behavior
  • substance abuse
  • driving records
  • criminal activity
  • participation in hazardous sports
  • private thoughts from psychotherapists

Note, the MIB may not have a file on you, but we
recommend you should verify it's existence as well as
the correctness of that information on you.

You can obtain a copy for free once a year by calling
(866) 692-6901 -or- by visiting the company's web site
at www.mib.com/html/request_your_record.html.

Medical Information Bureau,
P.O. Box 105,
Essex Station,
Boston, MA 02112
(617) 426-3660
http://www.mib.com

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