Medical identity theft increased nearly 20 percent compared to the year before in the United States and affected an estimated 1.84 victims with the total out-of-pocket medical costs for medical identity theft victims reaching $12.3 billion, according to the 2013 Survey on Medical Identity Theft conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance (MIFA) with support from ID Experts. The survey is available online at http://medidfraud.org/2013-survey-on-medical-identity-theft/.
An annual survey now in its fourth year, the 2013 Survey on Medical Identity Theft measures the prevalence, extent, and impact of medical identity theft in the United States to consumers and the healthcare industry. According to the survey’s web page on the MIFA website: “Medical identity theft is quickly becoming a national healthcare issue with life-threatening consequences; and is now the fastest-growing fraud. Medical identity theft is on the rise, and tainting the entire healthcare ecosystem.”
MIFA defines medical identity theft as occurring through the fraudulent use of an individual’s Protected Health Information (PHI) or Personally Identifiable Information (PII), such as name, Social Security number, or the use of a fictitious identity, to obtain medical goods and services, or to unlawfully gain financial benefit. Perpetrators commit medical identity theft to obtain insurance, prescription drugs, medical services, employment, government benefits, or other financial gain.
MIFA warns that threats to victims of medical identity theft may include contamination of their health records with erroneous information concerning blood type, serious health conditions, prescriptions, or illegal drug use. Other types of losses may include denial of health insurance or of a job and exorbitant costs for resolving medical identity theft. Besides the person whose identity has been stolen, victims of medical identity theft include healthcare providers, insurance companies, taxpayers, and consumers.
The protection of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of consumers against identity theft is critical in today’s Information Age. Job applicants deserve the same protection when undergoing pre-employment background checks. Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is a nationwide background check firm accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®). To learn more about background checks from ESR, visit http://www.esrcheck.com or call Toll Free 888.999.4474.
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