Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Overview: What is the World Privacy Forum?




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FAQ 1: What is the World Privacy Forum?

The World Privacy Forum is a nonprofit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3), public interest research group. The WPF focuses on privacy, especially health privacy. You can find out more about our work at

The WPF prepared the first report ever done on medical identity theft, a subset of identity theft, coining the term and bringing the problem to public attention. Medical identity theft occurs when someone uses an individual’s name and sometimes other parts of their identity – such as insurance information – without the individual’s knowledge or consent to obtain medical services or goods. Another variation of medical identity theft occurs when someone uses an individual’s identity information to make false claims for medical services or goods. Medical identity theft frequently results in erroneous information in existing medical records, often in the name of the victim. Harms to victims include wrongful medical treatment because of the incorrect information and the use of health insurance benefits by someone not entitled to them.

If you want to learn more about medical identity theft, go to If you think you were a victim of medical identity theft, see the FAQ for victims at The answers there specifically address the needs of identity theft victims.



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