Medical Identity Theft
About medical identity theft, the World Privacy Forum medical identity theft report, and our key resources
The World Privacy Forum is the leading expert on medical ID theft. We published the first major report about medical identity theft in 2006 and brought this crime to the attention of the public for the first time. We maintain up-to-date information and tips for victims, as well as conduct and publish new research.
What is medical identity theft?
Medical identity theft occurs when someone uses a person’s name and sometimes other parts of their identity — such as insurance information — without the person’s knowledge or consent to obtain medical services or goods, or uses the person’s identity information to make false claims for medical services or goods. Medical identity theft frequently results in erroneous entries being put into existing medical records, and can involve the creation of fictitious medical records in the victim’s name.
Medical identity theft is a crime that can cause great harm to its victims. Yet despite the profound risk it carries, it is the least studied and most poorly documented of the cluster of identity theft crimes. It is also the most difficult to fix after the fact, because victims have limited rights and recourses. Medical identity theft typically leaves a trail of falsified information in medical records that can plague victims’ medical and financial lives for years.
Key World Privacy Forum Medical ID Theft Resources:
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Medical identity theft is a crime that harms people and it is a crime that hides itself. This combination makes medical identity theft an insidious crime. It can cause extraordinary damages and harms to its individual and institutional victims. And once begun, the harmful effects of this crime can linger in the lives of its victims for years or even decades.
Identity Theft — The World Privacy Forum filed comments and recommendations with the President’s Identity Theft Task Force. The task force’s draft report and recommendations did not include or contemplate medical identity theft solutions for victims; the WPF has requested and recommended that this be corrected. Medical identity theft victims need more help, more recourse, and agency attention.
Identity theft | medical identity theft — The World Privacy Forum filed comments with the Federal Trade Commission, the Treasury, and other federal agencies today regarding the joint draft rule on “Red Flags” for identity theft. In its comments, the World Privacy Forum requested that medical identity theft be added to several aspects and portions of the proposed rule. Adding medical identity theft to the rule is essential to help close gaps in protection for consumers and to encourage health care providers to attend to victims’ challenges and needs regarding medical identity theft.
Medical records privacy and how-to — Following its report on medical identity theft, the World Privacy Forum has responded to the need for specialized advice for victims of medical identity theft. The Access, Amendment, and Accounting of Disclosures: FAQs for Medical ID Theft Victims is the first resource of its kind, and is intended to help victims navigate the complicated process of correcting medical files and recovering from the unique harms of medical identity theft. The FAQ includes sample letters to use, as well as step-by-step advice on how to get a copy of health records, ask for changes to health records from healthcare providers, and ask for a history of disclosures of health records.
This report discusses the issue of medical identity theft and outlines how it can cause great harm to its victims.