Friday, January 27, 2006

Identity Thief Steals Social Security Number from Hospital

Most people commonly associate identity thief being
committed from dumpster diving, mail box intercepts,
or even on-line data breaches.

However, another area targeted by identity thieves
is medical institutions such as hospitals or doctor's
offices.

Why?

Lots of easily accessible documents containing social
security numbers and full names along with addresses
in what evidently identity thieves perceive as "soft"
targets of opportunity to collect personal information
to commit fraud.

Case in point, a Maryland woman is attempting to
sue for over $60 million as a result of her social
security number being stolen (SSN) by an identity
thief who worked in the hospital billing department.
The identity thief subsequently used the stolen SSN to
fraudulently open up credit accounts causing the victim's
credit rating to plummet as she was unnecessarily harassed
by collection agencies.

Evidently, the Maryland woman's law suit alleges the
hospital should have conducted a background and
criminal records check to discover the identity thief
had just been released from prison after serving time for
identity theft and should have never been allowed
anywhere
near sensitive billing information for patients.

Special note to our readers, while it's been nearly 3
full years since the hospital based identity thief
victimized the Maryland woman, she's most likely
suffered significant financial, legal, and emotional
duress during this time and with the prospects of
the law suit process having no immediate conclusion.

Want to avoid the substantial damage to your credit
and financial health without having to resort to lengthy
legal process?

Since, you can not control the hiring process and
sensitive records security of companies, we recommend
you arm yourself with an aggressive monitoring and
prevention strategy to prevent identity theft from
happening to you.

So, our tip for today is today:

  • Question the need of any organization asking you
    for your social security number.
  • When filling out billing application forms for a
    medical institution which request your SSN, make
    sure to provide a written request for them to either
    destroy and/or lock away your sensitive records.
  • Plus, request that an alternate number be used rather
    than your SSN.

Finally, to round our your defense, get a comprehensive
monitoring and alerting service for your credit & non-credit
accounts so that you can receive "early warnings" when
suspicious activity takes place involving your name and
financial future.


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