Scam Alert – Medical Identity Theft
We all know about regular identity theft, where someone steals your identity in order to drain your bank accounts and run up your credit. For many, this is a huge problem that’s only going to grow as criminals get better at stealing information from the cloud and other big information sources. But what if you start relaxing because you don’t have any money to really take? Thanks to the rise in medical identity theft, you might not be as safe as you imagine. Just because criminals can’t run up credit you don’t have or open new accounts doesn’t mean that you’re completely protected. They can still use your identity to access medical services, billing you for things that aren’t covered by the NHS.
This type of theft costs consumers a great amount of money, with seemingly no end in sight as criminals are getting more sophisticated, not less. Are there any strategies in place to finally solve the problem for good?
Well, there are some steps that you can use to protect yourself a little more from identity thieves. The first step is to know how your information will be stored, and for how long. We leave behind a larger information trail than we realize. We’re always filling in information cards in order to get services. When we leave a service, that information isn’t always deleted. Ask companies how they’re storing and using your information. If the representative doesn’t know, file an official inquiry with the corporate website. Usually they have this information buried somewhere on the site, but companies are getting better at letting people know how their information is protected, stored, used, and even how the data is sold. Some data selling is expected, while you might be surprised at what companies are selling your data to other companies that may not be as protective.
If you feel that you’ve been the victim of identity theft, you need to speak up about it. Get fraud alerts out there as soon as possible, so a full investigation can take place.
In everyday life, it’s important to protect information you have around the house. People dig through garbage in order to find out more about you. Shredding sensitive paperwork is good, but disposing of it safely is even better. There are secure shredder companies that not only shred your data, but they can dispose of it in a way that thieves don’t have access.
All of these steps might sound a little like too much work, but it’s best that you at least look into things as much as possible. Good luck!