FBI Portland
Beth Anne Steele
(503) 460-8099
June 5, 2018

Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday—Building a Digital Defense Against Medical ID Theft

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week, building a digital defense against medical ID theft.

The high cost of health care in the U.S. means there is always going to be a market for those looking to looking to scam the system.

Medical ID theft takes place when someone uses your health insurance – whether private insurance or something like Medicare – to see a doctor, get a prescription filled, or get medical treatments. Not only does this cost your insurance company or the government a great deal of money, it can mean that your medical records will get mixed with the fraudster’s. This can affect both the healthcare you receive as well as your credit report if the fraudster leaves a trail of unpaid bills following treatment.

The best offense is a good digital defense:

  • Don’t ever give out your insurance information or Social Security number to someone who contacts you unsolicited.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who offers you free devices or services if you just supply your insurance or Medicare number.
  • Check the “explanation of benefits” that your insurance provider sends after each visit or treatment. Ensure that the dates of service, types of service, and provider are all correct.
  • Watch for unexpected bills or calls from debt collectors concerning medical treatment that you did not receive.
  • Watch for a notice from your insurance provider that you’ve reached your benefit limit earlier than expected or you get a denial of benefits because you received treatment for a condition that your medical records show you don’t have.
  • Finally, do not let anyone borrow your insurance card – it’s illegal.

If you believe a thief may have used your medical ID, it is important to contact each provider involved. Request complete copies of all of your medical and billing records. Dispute, in writing, any services you believe are fraudulent and keep records of any actions you take.

If you have been victimized by an online scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to also report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.