Stealing your data in a privacy breach can be a recipe for financial disaster. When scammers enter health care networks and seek medical information, they may impose themselves as medical services, open their data with credit accounts, break into their bank accounts, illegally use drugs, and even blackmail you with sensitive personal information.  ID thieves often have to spend money to solve problems related to the theft of their data, which, according to FTC averages $ 600 . But security research firm Ponemon Institute found that victims of healthcare identity theft spend nearly $ 1
Victims of Healthcard data breaches may also be unable to get reimbursed by their health insurers, or have to cancel or pay their policies to reinstate their insurance, and they suffer the harm of their credit ratings and grades. In the worst case they were threatened with the loss of custody of their children, they were charged with drug trafficking, they were severely hired for a job or even dismissed by their employers
What is a data breach in healthcare?
Data breaches occur when hackers infiltrate the computer network of a medical office, clinic, hospital, medical lab, insurer, or other healthcare provider. In many cases, medical information is stolen by medical personnel or unintentionally exposed through lax office procedures and security.
Medical data is a big target for scammers, as it is often much more valuable than other commonly available personal information. While a stolen credit card number could be sold for just a few cents, 196,630,000 medical records could reach up to $ 1,000, according to Mariya Yao, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Research & Design at TOPBOTS Artificial Intelligence Research Institute
Signs that you are the victim of a medical identity theft
Your first indication that your medical information may have been hacked may be contained in a statement, bill, or message from your insurer, your doctor, or another medical provider, warns the Federal Trade Commission
According to the Commission you should look for:
- An invoice or a statement of benefits that show medical benefits that you have not received
- A call from a collection agency about a medical debt you do not owe
- One or more med  You receive a health insurance or insurer notice that you have reached your limit
- A refusal of insurance b Because your medical records show a condition that you do not have
How Getting back on track after a health problem
If you get the sinking realization that your medical information has been stolen, here are three steps you can take to protect yourself and minimize the damage.
Collect Documents and Record Reports
Collect Current Copies of Medical Records
Get up-to-date copies of all your medical records from your physicians and all other health care providers, along with your medical insurer, as well as family members' records may also be affected. Go through the reports and look for treatments, procedures, or prescriptions that are not approved for you and your family. In some cases, a fraudster may have exhausted your benefits for the year or done something else that could compromise your coverage and entitlement to treatment.
You should check that all your personal information is correct, from your mailing and billing address to your blood type. If your medical records have been changed to reflect a fraudster's treatment, they could contain dangerous mistakes, such as: For example, there are false allergic reactions to some medications, a chronic condition such as diabetes, conflicting drug lists, or even a wrong blood type. If you have an accident and are taken to an emergency room, this type of fake information could trigger a dangerous or even fatal medical error.
Ask for corrections
After reviewing your health records, report incorrect information and ask for written corrections. You can copy the records and select or circle all the wrong entries to be deleted, and add additions or corrections. Make copies of everything you send, keep the originals, and record what was sent, where, and when.
Ask the provider to correct or delete any errors. Send your letter by registered mail and ask for a "return receipt", so that you have a proof of what the plan or provider has received. Make a copy of the Police Report and Identity Theft Report to the FTC.
The health care provider must correct your records and notify any laboratory or vendor who may have received false information. The FTC notes that if a provider makes no corrections, you should ask to include a statement about your disputes and corrections in your medical record.
For more information about the theft of medical data, see the Experian blog .
Brian O'connell is an award-winning financial journalist, founding editor of Bankrate.com, senior ghostwriter and author of "The $ 1,000 Challenge: How a Family Cut Their Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or." continue to live Government Cheese ", which was named" Best Money Management Book of the Year "by the Institute for Financial Literacy.